Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ray Nagin, Divine Retribution, and Racism

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin claimed yesterday that Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita were signs that "God is mad at America", and furthermore at black communities in general:

Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country... Surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves.

But channeling Pat Robertson was not enough for Mayor Nagin. The mayor also promised that New Orleans will be a "chocolate" city again:
It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans -- the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans. This city will be a majority African American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans.

Oh. Really. Does Nagin honestly think that it's okay to make openly racist statements? Does he think that his position in a public office justifies him making such statements? I'm scared to consider how he might answer those questions.

Aaron Matthews at The Blue State Conservatives asks us to imagine if the mayor of Salt Lake City, which is 80 percent white, had said that God wanted his city to be white. The front page story of The New York Times would be screaming about the bigotry and racism of such a statement. But because the statement came from a black mayor, you willl hear no such outrage.

What's worse? Nagin's attempted apology today, which wasn't much of an apology at all.

Nagin dug deeper on CNN:
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has sought to clarify comments he made on Martin Luther King Day to the effect that New Orleans should be a "chocolate" city.

He said he had not meant that it should be an all-black metropolis, asking: "How do you make chocolate?

"You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about," he told CNN.