1. The word refugee, means a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution. In the article refugee is defined as a fear of being persecuted for whatever reason, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unwilling to help oneself of the protection of that country. The statement saying that the word refugee carries a heavy semantic load means it holds a lot of weight and history behind it. Refugee can either be taken in a positive way or, like the residents in Louisiana, taken in a negative way.
The word to some may seem to strip them of their dignity and deem them as helpless and weak. While other people believe the word is not so demeaning at all. It reflects relations of power in American culture because it labels them as refugees, or in other words foreigners, helpless, second-rate citizens, and powerless. The stigma of charity discussed in the article contributes to unequal power relations by preventing individuals who may need the charity, or help, the most while ultimately punishing them for needing that charity because they are poor or are in dire need of help.
In this case, Katrina victims could not shake the stigmatization of structural inequality thus relations and resources that were able to provide adequate aid after the storm hit were not as prominent as it should have been. As a result of these stigmas, people who may receive public assistance often feel ashamed and humiliated about it and may not even take that help
3. The media helped to naturalize social inequality when they shape and portray certain language and societal attitudes to present images and words, such as refugee, to criminalize poverty rather than using their platform to bring attention to the poverty in Louisiana. The media shapes public perception by only showing and saying certain things that specifically target minority groups while leaving out the more favorited group, high class. An example of media doing this after the storm is through their language use. The media uses the word refugee to describe the survivors of Hurricane Katrina rather than claiming them as American citizens. The residents who stayed behind in Louisiana during the storm did not see themselves as refugees because they were not stateless or nationless. In fact, one resident that was interviewed claimed that he refuses to be labeled as a refugee considering that hes still a law-abiding citizen who pays his taxes. The people who were affected still claimed a place of residency despite everything they had lost so that word came with a negative connotation to them hinting that they were now looked at as second-rate citizens. Another use of language and imagery used by the media is a picture of an African American man looting food whereas a white couple is doing the same thing but its percepted as finding food. The word looting is associated with words such as thief, criminal, immoral, and in this case, could be perceived to be race-fueled.
4. The parallels between the language used at Hurricane Katrina and the language used at Hurricane Maria is similar in that in both disasters, the media, and the nation, did not take the medical need and reconstruction of the city seriously. First, they ignored the situation almost not taking it as a priority at all. In fact, CNN published an article discussing how Puerto Rico was largely ignored by the media, the President, and the nation in general. It states that the media’s attention that Hurricane Maria gained was only a fraction of the attention that Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma attracted (Gold 1). Donald Trump didnt even bring attention to Hurricane Maria and everybody seemed to treat the residents of Puerto Rico as an afterthought. In the same way, something similar to this happened to the people of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. The nation was late to respond and took their time to help the residents of the state. Based off of these facts and statistics, we see that in both disasters public officials were seen as underestimating the severity of the tragedies. The similar cultural factors that contribute to the outcome of each hurricane is that majority of Louisiana and Puerto Rico consist of minority communities. Residents are most likely in the middle to lower class living in a poor economy, or in poverty in general, and both places carry a cultural image of victimization. Due to these circumstances, many minorities are looked over as not important because of their race, financial situation, and economy.
7. One of the examples of structural violence in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina would be low-income Americans living in the most vulnerable housing. Since the majority of the New Orleans residents live closer to the Gulf Coast than other cities it would make sense to have houses and buildings in that city built with a strong platform and strong walls that could withhold storms. However, since the majority of the New Orleans population is middle to low class the government does not provide that type of assistance to them. In fact, these communities were built up by a history of racism and inequality from the location of work projects, lack of transportation resources, distribution of money to go to the wealthy for a better education, and many more factors. This is a structural violence against minorities who cannot afford disaster protection, medicare, food, safer housing, loss-reduction and much more. Another example of structural violence, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina would be communities lacking the resources for adequate aide and care from first responders.. The time it took for responders to act on this disaster couldve been time to save people from the flooding and couldve prevented many deaths. The disparities experienced in different neighborhoods and individuals from the after effects of Katrina is well known and the prime example of structural violence in Louisiana.