In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest, large, and powerful hurricane, hit the United States. It physically and emotionally caused a lot of damages to the country. Casualty loss caused Americans billions and billions of dollars.
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Millions of the victims were left with no home, job, and money. The government seemed to be helpless to the victims in helping them start their new lives after losing everything they have built. A racial project has come to the result of this natural disaster. In analyzing a racial project, it is important to know who is behind it, how it costs so much for its citizens until today, and how it connects to social structure.
Omi and Winant are sociologists who developed the concept of racial formations and racial projects (Nicki Lisa Cole, PhD). Race is made up of physical attributes that make each person unique. Humans cannot help but notice them when they meet a person. However, politicians produce colorblind racial politics and policies that do not account for the ways in which race and racism still structure society (Nicki Lisa Cole, PhD, ThoughtCo). This is what Omi and Winant call racial projects. A racial project can be defined as racist if an only if it creates or reproduces structures of domination based on essentialist categories of race (Omi, Racial Formation, 71). Politicians do not directly attack people of color with their agendas, but they indirectly make it harder for people of color to be provided with the resources that they need. In the instance of Hurricane Katrina, it was blatantly obvious that a political project was at play.
There are many parties involved in racial projects in the case of Hurricane Katrina–some more than others. President George W. Bush commented on the poverty in the Gulf area where the brunt of the storm was, stating that this area was subjugated to racial inequality, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. (AP Archive). He goes on to say how he planned to implement a better emergency response in areas that need it. The emergency response was not implemented in order to help the victims of the current disaster. Another large influencer was the director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. In a interview with NPR’s Robert Siegal a few days after the initial hit from the hurricane, Siegal asks if everyone would be given food, water and medical supplies (From The Archives). Chertoff replies by saying that the main evacuation center (the superdome) is where everyone should go for accommodation. A reporter live at superdome stated that there were thousands of people denied treatment and sent away due to a lack of supplies. When asked to comment on this statement, Chertoff stated that it was rumours and that everything was fine.
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