Borrowing two tactics of the Civil Rights Movement, describe how you would approach two issues in America today.Hurricane Katrina exposed festering wounds just beneath the American surface of...

Borrowing two tactics of the Civil Rights Movement, describe how you would approach two issues in America today.

Hurricane Katrina exposed festering wounds just beneath the American surface of freedom and democracy, please comment.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the biggest things that was festering about Hurricane Katrina was the corruption that was within the city government of New Orleans--as if this hasn't gone on for decades.  Mayor Nagin and others who were busy with their graft were warned repeatedly that the levies would not hold; the head engineer for the city was repeatedly on national television stations before Katrina struck.  In addition, Nagin was also advised that he should evacuate people, especially from the 9th District.  There was a fleet of buses that sat idle because City Hall did not act.  Photographs of these buses can also be viewed.

After Katrina struck, in order to deflect the blame, Nagin and his cohorts placed blame on others.  If you could get copies of the underground papers that circulate and did circulate at that time in New Orleans, you would be surprised as some of FACTS that are cited in them.  Certainly, much of what happened could have been avoided if someone who was not first interested in his own self-interests was not in charge of the city of New Orleans.  The main festering wounds were political corruption! 

Further, attempts were made to violate the 2nd Amendment rights of Louisiana citizens and people were forcibly made to relinquish from their homes firearms.  Left with no protection, some of these people were robbed and beaten and shot by the marauding hoards that took advantage of the devastation to a city without power. Later, marshal law had to be declared and business owners and other law-abiding citizens fled for their lives.  All this because City Hall put too much money in their pockets and not enough into protecting the infrastructure of a very important port city in the U.S.

Voters soon took care of part of the problem.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first tactic I would borrow would be civil disobedience.  Homelessness is a serious problem in the major cities (and everywhere) and there are many, many vacant, foreclosed homes.  Rather than occupy business districts, I think the OWS movement would be much more successful if they occupied vacant homes and called for finance, mortgage and policy reforms.  Some groups are starting to do this in small numbers.

Secondly, I would emphasize non-violence as an approach.  With the generation of veterans we have returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are starting to see the same thing happen that happened after Vietnam: there is a higher percentage of the homeless who are veterans, and veterans care spending is always a target for budget cuts.  A non-violent protest, in uniform, of tens of thousands of veterans on the steps of the Capitol might be effective, as they would be more reluctant to arrest, but also to ignore veteran protesters.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Marching for a cause can be effective as well. If you can get a million people to march for a cause, this will do a few things.

First, it will show the country that the issue is an important one. People care and they will not take the status quo anymore.

Second, it will encourage the protestors, because they see solidarity. In other words, they are not alone. They know that many people agree with their cause. This will give the cause greater impetus.

Finally, it will make the government think and act.

I think two important issues today are: financial reform and political reform. Banks need to be made smaller, bonuses need to be cut, and politicans need to be more honest. For example, they should not be able to trade stocks with all the inside information they have. Also they need to be less partisan.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Borrowing two tactics of the Civil Rights Movement, describe how you would approach two issues in America today.

Hurricane Katrina exposed festering wounds just beneath the American surface of freedom and democracy, please comment.

I think this is a real overstatement.  To say that Katrina "exposed" these things implies that A) people didn't know about them before and B) now they do.  I don't think this is the case.

Plenty of people knew race and poverty were issues in America before Katrina.  Those who didn't already know did not (I think) experience any change of heart after Katrina.  Has anything really changed since Katrina?  Not to my way of thinking.  So I don't see how we can say that it exposed these wounds.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Non-violence, especially as a response to violence, is often a very effective tactic.  Witness the incident in which student protestors were sprayed in the face with pepper-spray at the University of California at Davis.  Photos of this event were widely publicized and created a great deal of sympathy for the protestors -- far more sympathy than if they had reacted violently. Instead, they sat peacefully and allowed themselves to be sprayed, thus suggesting their courage, their determination, and their sense of the justice of their cause.  Here as so often during the civil rights movement, over-reaction by the police created sympathy for the protestors.

megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We all knew that racism and poverty existed before Hurricane Katrina, but I am still to this day shocked and dismayed at how open the government and media were with their racism. Things such as calling the evacuees "refugees," treating the victims like criminals, and failing to provide simple things like food and water, are things that still concern me to this day. I learned that if it were to be in such a situation, my own country would be hesitant to rescue me because of the color of my skin. It was a wake up call.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Civil disobedience is the centrally most effective tactic as has been shown through the Civil Rights Movement and elsewhere. This would deifnitely provide an effective way to protest against various issues if there is sufficient public support and will to follow through with protests. The passive resistance of the Civil Rights Movement was very important and potent given the way that protestors resisted but did so in a way that was not aggressive or violent.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Consider the Occupy Wall Street movement. In a way, they are trying to borrow from some of the Civil Rights Movement's ideas. They assemble peacefully (for the most part), and they have garnered support from people not directly affected by the issues they are protesting and what they are trying to change about American culture is significant.
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can only really offer one tactic from the Civil Rights Movement that could be used to open up the "fester," as seen in Hurricane Katrina. It is always important, in any circumstance, that people act, and react, in non-violent ways. Violence simply compounds any disaster (like Katrina).