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WHERE ARE THE ASIAN AND HISPANIC VICTIMS OF KATRINA?: A Metaphor for Invisible Minorities in Contemporary Racial Discourse -

  • Grace Kao (a1)

Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Central Gulf Coast in August 2005, was undoubtedly one of the worst natural disasters to strike the United States in the age of round-the-clock media journalism. Television coverage of Hurricane Katrina brought to the forefront the costs of disadvantage along racial and class lines. Needless to say, the victims left behind were disproportionately African American, elderly, and impoverished residents of the area. While the focus of media discussions centered around whether African Americans were abandoned by governmental agencies or if they were to blame for not heeding the call to evacuate, there was a complete absence of coverage and discussion of Hispanic and Asian American residents of the area, who are also disproportionately poor and many of whom lacked English skills to navigate the little help available to residents. This essay briefly discusses the few newspaper articles that examined these populations; Hispanic and Asian American journalists wrote almost all of these articles. I then examine how the lack of attention to these populations shapes our common understandings of race and why this may be problematic both in the United States and in a global environment.

Corresponding author
Professor Grace Kao, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail:
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Avila, Oscar and Hugh Dellios (2005). Immigrants Told to Seek Help, Whatever Their Legal Status. Chicago Tribune, September 8. 〈,1,1392308.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed〉 (accessed April 18, 2006).
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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
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