Matt Towery

The fallout over Hurricane Katrina continued even as Florida and other regions of the East Coast faced the possibility of their own damaging storm.
 
Let's take a look at some of the key developments that have attracted public notice since Katrina struck.

 Readers of this column probably won't be surprised to learn that last week's piece drew more reader response than any column I've ever written. Last week, I wrote that the highest levels of America's corporate and media worlds don't understand the South.

 Five out of six letters/e-mails applauded my views. The remainder labeled me a redneck with a chip on my shoulder.

 Most of those in agreement were themselves Southerners, but many others were from northeastern and western states. Tellingly, a good number hailed from smaller states throughout America, where the people can readily identify with the points I made about the South being out of the limelight.

 Rather than rehash the column, I'll cite the former mayor of New Orleans, an African-American. On Sunday's "Meet the Press" television broadcast, Marc Morial reiterated my column by wondering out loud if the American public's attention would have focused on Katrina more quickly if the storm had struck, say, New York City.

 But was the seemingly delayed response a racial issue or, more broadly, a regional one?

 Admittedly, there is a sizeable segment of the nation's black population that continues to suffer from a cycle of poverty, inadequate education and sometimes a degree of unintended but real discrimination.

 Even so, many people unfamiliar with the South may not know that many Southern cities, including New Orleans, are populated overwhelmingly by African Americans. So ruin to one of these cities is automatically ruin to more blacks than whites.

 Many states in America have small minority populations. So to be fair, they have no way of knowing something that most Southerners take for granted; namely, that blacks and whites are often a part of one another's daily lives here and often happily so. 

 In watching former Atlanta mayor and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Andy Young as he explains Southern racial issues on television, I take pleasure in a memory. I recall that he and I once had offices side by side. We often spent hours trading stories, as well as views that were remarkably and consistently the same.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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