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Hoisting the Race Flag
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, September 19, 2005

Shorter Paul Krugman: "I'm not saying the Republicans are actually racists...I'm just implying it. (wink wink, nudge nudge) That's different." Longer Paul Krugman:
By all accounts Ronald Reagan, who declared in his Inaugural Address that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem," wasn't personally racist. But he ... launched his 1980 campaign with a pro-states'-rights speech in Philadelphia, Miss., a small town whose only claim to fame was the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers.
Here's the thing: Reagan launched his 1980 campaign at the Neshoba County Fair. The Neshoba County Fair is not in Philadelphia, Mississippi. It's near it, certainly, but about 10-20 miles outside of Philadelphia. If you look at a map of the Neshoba County Fairgrounds, you'll see a highway running by it with the annotation: "Highway 21 TO Philadelphia".

The fair is, if not actually in Philadelphia, usually associated with Philadelphia. So, to be perfectly fair, Mr Reagan did give a speech which was kinda close to a place that had seen the murder of civil rights workers.

More important is the image that Krugman is trying to paint: the idea that Reagan went to Philadelphia, Mississippi....a place whose "only claim to fame was the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers". In point of fact, that's just not true. The Neshoba County Fair, where Reagan actually spoke, is the premiere political event in Mississippi. (much like the Shad Planking in Wakefield, Virginia [pop. 1038] which is an absolute requirement for politicos in Virginia) Saying Philadelphia is only famous for the murder of civil rights workers is like saying Bethel, New York was only famous for being the location of a nice dairy farm.

Reagan did speak there, and he did mention State's right. But then, State's rights were an integral part of his stump speech, and he reiterated those same principles two days later in front of the Urban League. Meanwhile, the Schedule of Political Speakers at the most recent Neshoba County Fair included 9 currently-serving Democrats.

Then there's this...
Under George W. Bush - who, like Mr. Reagan, isn't personally racist but relies on the support of racists
("Mr Krugman, who isn't personally a communist, but relies on the readership of communists...") That's a neat game.
I'd like to believe that Katrina will change everything - that we'll all now realize how important it is to have a government committed to helping those in need, whatever the color of their skin. But I wouldn't bet on it.
Here, Mr Krugman is simply waving the race flag; he is conflating the effects of poverty with the effects of racism. Correlation, Professor Krugman, is not causation. The problems that disproportionately affect the black community do so because of disproportionate poverty, not because of the color of their skin.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Under George W. Bush - who, like Mr. Reagan, isn’t personally racist but relies on the support of racists

Strike that. It’s unfortunately, quite believable.

What an @sshole.
Written By: W
URL: http://

Not that I doubt anything you’ve written here, but could you include a link to NYT version of this "Professor Krugman" article (a great line, my compliments, along with the "not personally a communist" line).

Linking to an "unofficial PK archive", while valuable and certianly less dis-tasteful, rasies the potential for editing. We don’t want anyone to be able to throw that claim around.

But all hate for the man aside, I will admit that I am getting some fair amount of enjoyment out of watching the Left simply fall apart. Sort of like the "insurgents" in Iraq getting more and more desperate and targeting "their own people".
Written By: Tom_with_a_Dream
could you include a link to NYT version of this "Professor Krugman" article
No. The NYTimes has put their columnists behind a fee-wall. However...
Linking to an "unofficial PK archive", while valuable and certianly less dis-tasteful, rasies the potential for editing. We don’t want anyone to be able to throw that claim around.
All of Paul Krugman’s columns—and public statements—are reproduced there accurately. Krugman even mentions the archive on his academic website. Nobody who knows anything about Krugman and PKArchive suggests that it is anything but accurate. In fact, it appears to be a cooperative effort with Krugman.

In any event, I regard the PKarchive as a sufficiently credible representation of Krugman’s work that no further evidence is needed.
Written By: Jon Henke
Boy, how I hate that guy. Or rather, I don’t hate him, but his constant lies and the way he lives to accuse.
Written By: Dutch
URL: http://
I never meant to imply any ill-will on your part, or the PKarchivists for that matter, I was just trying to predict any strawmen.
Seeing as how PK acknowledges it, I guess I will defer to your position, that it is "sufficiently credible".
Again, no offense meant.
Written By: Tom_with_a_Dream
This has nothing to do with a racial descrimination, and everything to do with economic desparity. Its easy, people above the poverty line have little difficulty getting out, people below it are somewhat stuck. That there is a correlation between that and race is not the point. The point is merely logistical (ie, who has a car, who can afford a hotel room etc.) and to try an make a case that the government somehow delayed their reaction due to the fact that there are lots of black people in New Orleans is ignorant and offensive.
Written By: Christian Klay
URL: http://
Again, no offense meant.
None taken.
Written By: Jon Henke
Perhaps I have utterly failed to keep up, but hasn’t this particular canard been debunked a thousand and one times? Posting it again (and again) is kind of redundant. Not to mention the fact that it’s been well-established that PK is a moron.
Written By: CyanCyde
URL: http://
True, Paul Krugman does tend to bore on about the same things from the same left/liberal perspective every week. But on my occasional visits to the US, the things which most strike me are the unofficial racial apartheid, the grotesque levels of poverty, and the fact that most of the poor are black.

Nobody white I’ve talked to in the US has ever agreed that America is deeply, structurally racist. Everybody black I’ve talked to in America, when I’ve tentatively raised the subject, has practically thrown an arm around me, called me brother, and talked for an hour solid about racism in America, from personal experience.

White people don’t need to be racist in America. The structure of America does it for them. It keeps the blacks down. If you’ve ever hung out in the black part of Bakersfield, you’ll know what I mean.

So if you don’t think Krugman is right, that race played some part, subconsciously or otherwise, in delaying the Bush administration’s response to the biggest natural disaster in the US in our lifetime... How DO you explain it? Because it really was one of the most extraordinarily pathetic and inadaquate responses I’ve ever seen to a natural disaster by a national government.
Written By: Julian from Ireland
URL: http://
But on my occasional visits to the US, the things which most strike me are the unofficial racial apartheid, the grotesque levels of poverty, and the fact that most of the poor are black.

Actually Julian, most poor are white in the US.

And, of course, such a thing as racism isn’t something Ireland deals with, does it? It instead deals with religious aparthied, right?

How DO you explain that?

Because it really was one of the most extraordinarily pathetic and inadaquate responses I’ve ever seen to a natural disaster by a national government.

Well, I see you’ve swallowed the media hysterics and subsequent abysmal lack of understanding of how relief efforts in a sovereign states like Louisiana are structured and are supposed to function.

But hey, obviously you have both our supposed racism and disaster relief all figured out.

Do go on.
Written By: McQ

A piece of advice. If you are going to ask a question as complex as how to explain the evacuation I suggest you read the archives. Few sites have looked at it from all angles like this one. Then once you know how they feel come back and ask again with some specific arguments.

I also suggest the structural racism charge will have to be explained a bit. I live down here in Louisiana and I will not argue the obvioius point that there are plenty of racists down here, but "structural" is such a cop out. It basically means you can’t tell me what it is so you adopt a phrase to express your certainty that that is the cause without having to demostrate it. Not to mention that we treat minorities here at least as well as Europeans do. I’ll gladly compare the living standards of African Americans to the various African and Middle Easterners on your side of the Atlantic, a large number of whom happen to be black. Maybe you haven’t bothered to go to "le Zone" in France lately because you would likely be risking your life, or maybe it is because you don’t care, or maybe because you are searching out our problems to give you a sense of superiority or some other reason, I don’t care. I don’t go complaing about structural racism or ethnocentrism in Europe because there is plenty of the old fashioned kind. More importantly I don’t think racism is the real problem, the real problem is a stultifying state, similar to New Orleans and southern Louisiana. I applaud Ireland for taking a different tack which explains a lot more about minorities there doing well than any lack of base instincts. See France for a good example of the other path.

The problems of African Americans here in Louisiana are rooted in racism. It wasn’t some vague "structural " issue however, it was a vicious state sponsored oppression. It was very straight forward, no weasel words needed to explain it. Some of that still exists, but the real problem now is the same one the poor who are not black in Louisiana face, a corrupt incompetent state that hands out goodies to keep itself in power but kills the opportunities that might allow progress to proceed at a faster pace. That state is a creature of the Democratic party of Louisiana. Bush certainly had nothing to do with it. I suggest you stick to his own faults, he has enough of them.

Nor is race the dominant theme down here at all. I live now in the Capitol of Louisiana, Baton Rouge. A city that handily voted for George Bush, that is predominantly white and yet somehow just elected a black Democrat as mayor. I voted for him myself. Exactly how does that fit into the equation? We have racism, but it takes a back seat to whole bunch of other issues which I suggest you learn a little about before sneering about things you don’t understand. I know Americans do the same, but returning the favor doesn’t make you look any better.

As for the comment on how to explain the slow response, I’ll give you a few thoughts as long as you are here. First it isn’t about racism. Most of those affected down here were not black. In fact the aid and attention went first and fastest to the only predominantly African American Parish which was struck. Majority white parishes had to wait. I know, I had family in Washington Parish and saw the frustration mount as they were ignored. New Orleans for a host of reason’s was the priority, but it hardly denotes racism to be first in line for help.

More importantly I suggest Europeans have no clue the scale of this disaster and what it means. You have faced nothing similar to compare it to. So imagine all of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England devastated. Little to no communications. Transportation infrastructure wiped out, the chunnel useless and most of your seagoing vessels and small boats destroyed. Meanwhile Dublin is rapidly filling with water. How long before France and Germany can get to you? As I said, you have no freakin’ clue. To help though I suggest you look at the maps and pictures relating the storm to Germany a bit down this page from mediankritik:

When in your lifetime has anything that frightening looking happened in Europe, well, unless you were trying to kill each other?

So when you want to lecture us on racism I suggest that first you make sure not to sound too superior about it. Second, I suggest that you actually identify when people here are being racist, rather than some conspiracy that depends on people not knowing what the demographic profile of the affected region is, because some of us do. It also helps not to make obviously ignorant comments such as that most of the poor are black. It is one of those comments that are so untrue as to reduce others ability to take you seriously, though my guess is you are pretty bright, but like many bright people think you know things you don’t.
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Because it really was one of the most extraordinarily pathetic and inadaquate responses I’ve ever seen to a natural disaster by a national government.
Julian, just for the hell of it, tell us how the American government’s response to Katrina was more pathetic than this:
"During August 2003, between 22,000 and 35,000 people died due to a heatwave across Europe....... Health professionals argued that the problem was an underfunded, understaffed elderly care system in crisis, combined with a national habit of shutting senior citizens out of sight and mind. Less people died in southern European countries, mainly because the elderly there are more integrated into daily family life. The marginalization and poverty of the elderly are the root causes of disaster - extreme temperatures are simply the natural trigger."

There were plenty of mistakes made in the emergency response to Katrina, but there isn’t one scintilla of fact establishing race as a cause. The freakin’ mayor of New Orleans is black and, while he is certainly not the only culpable person, he bears primary responsibility for the failure to evacuate people from the Super Dome and the NO Convention Center. But then again, we all know that. Facts have no bearing on idiots like Julian and Professor K. They are obviously going to believe what they want to believe no matter what.

Julian, you should be careful throwing rocks from the proverbial glass house
Written By: Anonymous

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