13 September 2005

Reinforcing Feedback Between Racism and Classism - "The Other America" (Newsweek Article)

The following quote comes from the 19 September 2005 issue of Newsweek in the cover article titled "The Other America." It may be one possible explanation for incidents where interactions between different races and economic classes end up producing unintended outcomes:
Harvard's [Glenn C.] Loury argued in a 2002 book, The Anatomy of Racial Inequality, that it's this stereotyping and "racial stigma," more than overt racism, that helps hold blacks in poverty. Loury explains a destructive cycle of "self-reinforcing stereotypes" at school and work. A white employer, for instance, may make a judgment based on prior experience that the young black men he hires are likely to be absent or late for work. So he supervises them more closely. Resenting the scrutiny, the African-Americans figure that they're being disrespected for no good reason, so they might as well act out, which in turn reinforces their boss's stereotype. Everybody goes away angry.
This is just speculation on my part, but this "cycle of self-reinforcing stereotypes" may have been a factor in the closing ceremony incident and other race relations incidents at the 2005 Ft. Worth General Assembly.

02 September 2005

Hurricane Katrina Updates - Southwest District (UUA)

Updates from the Southwest District (UUA) Hurricane Katrina update web page through 2 September 2005, 1250 CDT:
[Message from David Wadleigh, Board Member - Community Church UU in New Orleans, 2 September 2005]
Thanks for the web resource pages to help us communicate.

CCUU has also set up a page at www.communitychurchuu.org/katrina.htm to help our members communicate and has an active emailing list
CCUU-NOLA-Members-Friends@yahoo.com set up as well. We are in touch with a number of our members by email, but of course many more are not known about.

Personally, I am in Dallas for the moment, and contemplating a return to Prairieville between Baton Rouge and New Orleans over the weekend. If the current news from New Orleans is reliable, it seems we may need donations of guns in order to go back near there.

message from First Church New Orleans President:

Thank you so much for reaching out. My heart is so heavy. I just watched a video of our mayor's report and have been surfing the blogs looking for info on specific neighborhoods, mine and those of me peoples. I had my first meltdown cry my eyes out of the day.

For those who don't know I was already out of down in the DC area doing a training with a UU church in Arlington VA when the threat became real and personal to New Orleans. During the weekend most of my immediate kinfolk and many friends and neighbors and extended family members also evacuated. Eric Paul, nephew Josh, and sister Karen drove my car to sister Veleja's house in Newark, TX near Ft Worth. Kendra is up here at school in DC. As I am she is very concerned for home and friends and family but she is going to all of her classes and doing what her people want her to do..staying focused. I am proud of her as you already know if you know us. Also, Ann and Amelia, our Casa Panola housemates are in Memphis

Two immediate family members stayed behind..We still dont know where my father in law Bernard and brother in law Kermit are. The superdome? the high school? We cant reach sis in law Jerry who did evacuate because she only has a new orleans cell phone. none of them are working right now. I do have a california cell phone.. (email the team if you need it)... so I can be reached.

Our Reverend Marta has been using email to minister to our Church, First UU of NEw Orleans, to those of us who are able to connect. This is a comfort and gives me hope for being part of a collective effort to help and to heal.

The mayor is telling evacuees not to even attempt to come back yet. The airport is still under water and the only to roads into the city, which cross bodies of water to get there, are structurally questionable now..there may be no safe way to drive back in for sometime to come. At minimum it will be a week. But it could be more. much more time before we see home again, whatever shape it is in.

I am sitting so comfortably at the breakfast table ...I can only imagine what so many of my nieghbors throughout new orleans are going through. They are only just beginning to set up a temporary morgue for the dead, so many of whom are still in the waters that have not gone down...it seems that the pumps that do work pump the water back into the same body that it is spilling out of ...so it is more of a circulation system than a drainage system at this point. This seeing the devastation without any way to find out about our home or reach out and help those who are really suffering...It is hard. Tomorrow I am going to go to California to be with my sister LAurie. She could use some help with her small business and that will give me something to do to avoid this helpless feeling. The texas side of the family house is pretty full right with evacuees now so I will take shelter elswhere although I am missing Eric Paul and all the rest of them very seriously.

We suspect that my neice Jen and her hubby Jimmy's new house is completely under water. We suspect the same for my sis Karen's rented house. Our neighborhood is apparently spared that kind of flooding but we hear that there is much structural damage in our area from the winds...I live on a street canaped by magnificent live oaks and magnolas. Those beautiful trees may have wound up in side our houses, maybe not. There is no way to know yet.

please keep your thoughts and prayers with all of us who have been affected. much love

David Ord is heading back to LaCombe in a few hours – he feels he needs to be there at the parsonage on the church property to keep an eye on things and help his church members as they return. They have no electricity and no phone. David says he will only be able to communicate with us every few days when he heads back to Baton Rouge for a break. The only congregants that he knows the status of are those who were with him in his home as they rode out the storm. He appreciates our trying to help locate the displaced UU’s. David reports that Slidell , where half of his membership lives, is still underwater but the other areas are not, although they still have no electricity and may not have any for months. David hopes there is a good response to his request for help in covering the church building and clearing the property. He fears they will lose the entire building if something isn’t done soon. David also said to remind everyone who comes to help to bring fuel for their chainsaws – there is no gasoline available anywhere in the area. David is in good-spirits, although concerned, and will stay in touch as best he can.

Dick Harris of the North Shore church left Mandeville on Sunday and is safe in Chattanooga.

Baton Rouge
The news is reporting that Covington is without phone or cell service, as well as without electricity, water, etc. Steve Crump has tried and been unable to reach Jane Mauldin and family, who live in Covington.

North Shore (from Steve Crump)
NorthShore congregants took a direct hit --Mandeville, Madisonville, and Slidell. Slidell looks devastated from arial views---it's under water. I just spoke with Rev. David Ord's son who lives in Baton Rouge and is a student at LSU. David and his son survived the storm in the parish house and watched all the trees go down on the church yard and also saw most of the roof of the church blow off. Their immediate need will be to pull a tarp over their church somehow to secure it from more water damage.

From Jim V., minister at Community in New Orleans: At this time, I am in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. I am working with the local Red Cross relief effort. Many refugees are here. I plan to return to NOLA, under Red Cross auspices, as quickly as this is possible. I have had limited contact with congregants. My assumption is the church is under water, and can only be reached by boat.

From Rev. Steve Crump, minister in Baton Rouge: Rev. Jim VanderWeele of New Orleans Community Chruch is in Arkansas and is trying to get into New Orleans via the Red Cross. The Community Church building was probably hit the worse, though First Church members and North Shore members may be most affected individually. Marta Chase is safe in Dallas with her partner, trying to reach parishioners, her new residence is in a low part of the city. It will be some time before we hear anything.

From Penny Ramsdell, Baton Rouge president: Thanks so much to all of your for your concern and offers of help. Our power went out about 5:30 a.m. and was just restored about half an hour ago. A huge tree came down and took out our back fence, and our place is literally blanketed with layers of branches and leaves--a massive cleanup job--but we're among the lucky. The church lost five big trees and has part of the parking lot blocked, but as far as we know no damage to the building, the circle window, the new electronic sign. No word about New Orleans and Northshore congregations.

Susan Besse UU Fellowship of Lafayette: Thanks for inquiring about our safety during Hurricane Katrina - fortunately the storm did not come as far as our area of Louisiana, so we have sustained no damage - This Time! We still have a couple more months to weather our the hurricane season this year.

There are many refugees from the eastern part of the state that are abiding in our area in centers that we hope to be able to give some assistance to.

Steve Crump tells us the church in Baton Rouge had a tree fall on the playground, but everything else there is fine. He is currently checking on members of the congregation.


Hurricane Katrina Information - Southwest District (UUA)

The Southwest Unitarian Universalist Conference (aka "Southwest District" or "SWUUC") has set up a web page with information and links from Southwest District congregations.

You can find this page online here: