Poverty, Racism, and President Bush

There is quite a bit of debate about why Julian Bond had to compare Katrina to lynching. Nomorespin blog attacks the thesis, but what was taken out of context was perhaps the larger speech within which it made perfect sense. Appears like Nomorespin was busy using a spin around the convention news. The normal headline of the story could have been what Mike Hall did for AFLCIO blog: 5 Million More Live in Poverty Since Bush Took Office

Here is what Hall says:

The Bush administration has done little to advance the cause of civil rights says NAACP Chairman Julian Bond. Bond says President Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina, the recent U.S. Supreme Court (with two Bush appointees) striking down race as a factor in school diversity plans and the 5 million more people living in poverty since he took office show that racial discrimination and inequality are far from vanquished.

In any case, it will be useful here to post the AP coverage of the convention: Bond rips Bush in address to NAACP annual convention By COREY WILLIAMS The Associated Press DETROIT (AP) NAACP National Board Chair Julian Bond said Sunday that the civil rights organization is needed now more than ever because the Bush Administration has done little to support blacks. From the administration’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina to the war in Iraq and immigration issues, Bush has seen his presidency questioned, Bond told an estimated 3,000 people during a public meeting in Detroit. “The extent of the repudiation, it was evident late last month when the immigration reform bill, the centerpiece of the administration’s domestic legislative hopes, died in the Senate,” Bond said during a nearly 47-minute speech. “On the procedural vote that determined the bill’s fate, only 12 of the Senate’s 49 Republicans stood with the President. When Bush came to shove, his own party members shoved back.” Bond’s speech was the opening address of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s 98th Annual Convention, which ends Thursday. Bond said 37 million Americans now live in poverty, an increase of more than five million during the Bush Administration. “And the gap has grown between the haves and the have-nots,” he said. “Almost a quarter of black Americans nationwide live below the poverty line as compared with only 8.6 percent of whites.” Bond called present day inequality and racial disparities cumulative and the result of racial advantages compounded over time. “Many Americans maintain from corporate and government sponsored pulpits, newspaper op-ed pages and television and radio talk shows that racial discrimination has become an ancient artifact,” he said. “At the NAACP, we know none of this is true, and that’s why we are dedicated to an aggressive campaign of social justice, fighting racial discrimination. We’ve done this in the past and will continue to do it in the future.” For example, he said the Supreme Court, which includes two justices nominated by Bush, upheld cases in which two school systems could not voluntarily use race in assigning students to schools. “The Bush Court removed black children from the law’s protection,” Bond said.