This weekend, on the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, civil rights activists and hip-hop stars will hold what they call a "healing ceremony" to commemorate the disaster. President Obama will speak at a separate event in New Orleans on Sunday. But don't expect any of these reconciliation-seeking leaders to confront the indelible stain of racial demagoguery left by the left in Katrina's aftermath. Hating George W. Bush means never having to say you're sorry.
The Olympic gold medal for racial grievance-mongering went to rapper Kanye West, who railed during a supposedly nonpolitical nationwide telethon that the government was shooting "us," that "those are my people down there," and that "George Bush doesn't care about black people!" West's vulgar exploitation of a charity drive -- which was meant to unite America -- left most viewers with the same aghast, frozen expression as the one on comedian Mike Myers' face as he tried to rescue their fundraising segment from the sewage.
Not to be outdone, the Congressional Black Caucus convened a press conference to blast news reporters for describing Katrina victims as "refugees." Yes, really. The Rev. Jesse Jackson echoed their complaint: "It is racist to call American citizens refugees." Refugees are, by dictionary definition, "exiles who flee for safety." How this could be construed as bigoted remains as much a mystery as the source of unhinged Huffington Post blogger and self-proclaimed "social justice advocate" Randall Robinson's bogus claim "that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive."
Robinson retracted the report, but did not apologize for spreading the black cannibalism tale around the world and using Katrina to vent his own anti-American venom about his country being a "monstrous fraud." Nation of Islam race hustler-in-chief Louis Farrakhan trafficked in his own baseless conspiracy-mongering about "a 25-foot-deep crater under the levee breach" indicating that the levee "may have been blown up to destroy the black part of town and keep the white part dry." Director Spike Lee stoked the levee truthers further, declaring, "If they can rig an election, they can do anything!"
New Black Panther Party head Malik Zulu Shabazz chimed in, calling the Katrina rescue and recovery operation a "racist occupation of subjugation rather than a relief effort," and saying it was designed "to keep non-white people in a state of subjugation on all levels, and they are viewed as expendable in order to protect the interest of the system." Donning her own tinfoil hat, Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee suggested that Republican suppression of the black vote in 2000 and 2004 was to blame for the government's botched Katrina response.
Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel drove the racial wedge in deeper by comparing President Bush to brutal Alabama segregationist Bull Connor. "If there's one thing that George Bush has done that we should never forget," Rangel spewed, "it's that for us and for our children, he has shattered the myth of white supremacy once and for all." At a House hearing, a Katrina witness testified unchallenged that black New Orleans residents were victims of "genocide and ethnic cleansing."
The execrable Jimmy Carter waited a few months to unleash his own Bush-bashing bile -- at the funeral of Coretta Scott King, no less -- in February 2006. "We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, those who were most devastated by Katrina, to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans."
Carter's speech not only lacked basic decency. It lacked any grounding in reality. According to vital statistics released just months after the storm by the primary morgue that processed the bodies of the deceased, 48 percent of those who died in the natural disaster were black, 41 percent were white, with another 8 percent unknown and 2 percent Hispanic. Little-noted follow-up analysis confirmed those preliminary results and also debunked the myth that the poor were disproportionately affected by the storm.
Five years later, the same color-coded paranoia and political opportunism that poisoned the Hurricane Katrina recovery permeates every current conflict in the public square: Ground Zero Mosque opponents are all suspiciously funded bigots, according to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Tea Party movement is the new Bull Connor, according to every liberal New York Times columnist. President Obama's critics hate black people, according to every major black Hollywood director and hip-hop mogul. As for the soul-fixing, Nobel Peace Prize-winning commander-in-chief whose election was supposed to heal the divide, I will guarantee you he won't ever lift a finger to repudiate the cynical smear tactics against his unjustly accused predecessor.
Post-racial America, we never knew you.