who deserves to recover


I recently read this article in Good. I’m trying to collect information about the impacts of national disasters as a part of my Irene Recovery internship this summer. I’m also just  a nerd that reads a lot of things. Anywho, I stumbled across this article on the recovery efforts in New Orleans. In case you have been living under a rock, Hurricane Katrina hit there in 2005.

haha sidenote, funny story about the first time I heard the phrase “living under a rock.” I was actually watching Oprah and she used that phrase in reference to an event that was obviously very well known, except to me. So I was doubly confused. I was also about 8. I was so confused by the phrase, though, that I just sat there in disbelief because 1. I didn’t know about the event she was discussing and so 2. I must have been living under a rock. I also wondered if there were actually people living under rocks which seemed really odd. So I pictured in my head, someone living under a rock, sort of like a caveman. This one event confused me for about 5 years.

Like I was saying, the article caught my attention because it was talking about innovation and startups, the new buzzword. I imagine there are people out there thinking that the best new way to restart the economy is through innovation which some believe will lead to job creation. Even this article comments that this has not been the case, at least in the early stages. I have seen an influx of the term innovation across higher education as institutions strive to generate new ideas that will jumpstart the economy and bring us all back to the glory days. People have  a lot of great ideas when the economy starts to tank. Its like when you overdraft your account unexpectedly but you really need something essential like, let’s say, gas. Then you drive yourself crazy with ideas of how to get money so you can function. I believe that most ideas that come out of panic like that are somewhat effective in the short term, but can have harmful longterm affects. Innovation seems to be one of those things. But I mean, it makes sense. Think of technology. That has created a whole new sector and way more jobs. Of course whenever you have a new development some other way of life becomes defunct such as typewriters. So all the people who were working in the typewriter industry are out of jobs and luck and, well, hopefully they have the ability to develop new skills or transfer some or retire. But think, like, the typewriter factories shut down and people who have low-skills and are least likely to be develop new skills get kicked out. And they can’t necessarily take advantage of the technology boom because most of those early jobs will be for high-skilled techies so womp womp.

So what caught me about the article was how they highlighted how low income, mostly people of color communities are going to be left out of this new growth. They won’t be the ones sought after for new jobs and startup cash and they won’t be the first to be employed in the high skill jobs that will probably begin to develop. Plus all of this new growth will possibly lead to gentrification and all sorts of hipster, yuppie, whole foods type developments which will devalue the culture of the low-income and marginalized.


I GET IT, but it still bothers me.

So how do we give the marganilzed a voice and ensure that their community is reinstated as New Orleans recovers? I wonder about this and how we currently structure our systems in such an inequitable and lopsided way and then when they crash, we just build them all up all over again. Like, how does that make sense? How are going to keep moving forward if we keep disenfranchising and excluding whole majorities of our society?

So, good luck with that new orleans.


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