Thursday, October 21, 2010

Katrina: Incompetence or Racism

In Hurricane Katrina a natural disaster led to a human catastrophe.  Most of the victims were black.  Media coverage that the poor government response was because of incompetence.  On the other hand, some media reports held that there was an element of racism.  In a study (Kaiser, Eccleston and Hagiwara, 2008) following Katrina, white and black students were shown videos supporting both points of view.  When confronted with claims of racism, white students used "system justification" as a way of rationalizing the mistakes rather than blaming "ingroup" racism. 

Kaiser, C., Eccleston, C., & Hagiwara, N. (2008). Post-Hurricane Katrina Racialized Explanations as a System Threat: Implications for Whites’ and Blacks’ Racial Attitudes. Social Justice Research, 21(2), 192-203. doi:10.1007/s11211-008-0065-0.

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