Last week Obama took a lot of heat for playing golf with Larry David and attending lavish Hillary fundraisers instead of taking the time to visit Louisiana (see our post “Does Obama Care About Black People? Louisiana Asks The President To Cut Vacation Short“).
But, it turns out Obama did do something, his DOJ sent Louisiana a 16-page “guidance” letter warning officials not to be racist in their recovery efforts. According to Breitbart, the “guidance” has struck a nerve with Louisiana residents including Retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness who is currently running for U.S. Senate:
“The U.S. Department of Justice under President Barack Obama issued letters to the survivors [in] Louisiana of this great flood of 2016 and said ‘you better not be racist down there’… They sent letters that hit the streets a few days ago, maybe yesterday, that basically warned the citizens of Louisiana that you better not be racist when you’re hiring people to fix your homes,” Maness said.
“You know what? We’re tired of being called racists. And I think that that’s the number one issue in the United States of America. Those people [at the DOJ] can just go to hell. They’re not my Department of Justice,” the retired Air Force colonel added.
“The good folks down here where I live in Southern Louisiana are just absolutely more than appalled. We’re just livid about it. The man ought to apologize to the people of this great state,” Maness said of the president.
The guidance letter (included in it entirety below) was originated by the Department of Justice and a litany other federal agencies “to ensure that individuals and communities affected by disasters do not face unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency) in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI).” The letter points out how the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina were found to be discriminatory:
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we have learned many critical lessons about how recipients of federal financial assistance engaged in emergency management activities can more effectively ensure that all members of the community receive services, regardless of race, color, or national origin.
The Recovery Framework notes that “care must be taken to assure that actions, both intentional and unintentional, do not exclude groups of people based on race, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency), religion, sex or disability.”
While emergencies and disasters affect all people, the ability of communities of color to access critical recovery programs, activities, and services often has been hampered.
The letter goes on to highlight specific instances of “discrimination” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As evidence, the letter points to a single, online rental post which said the renter “prefers two white females.” The letter also points out that St. Bernard Parish acted in a discriminatory fashion by passing a law that allowed blood relatives to skip the permitting process in erecting single-family housing units on the property of relatives.
Nondiscriminatory access to housing and shelters in the aftermath of Katrina also posed a major challenge for diverse racial and ethnic communities. Many seeking temporary housing immediately encountered discriminatory rental advertisements that explicitly refused to rent to African Americans. For example, an advertisement on a website designed to reach Katrina evacuees read: “Provider will provide room and board for $400 but prefers two white females.” Evidence collected by fair housing testers found that in 66% of all tests, White persons were favored over African American persons seeking housing using contacts available to Katrina evacuees. A federal court found evidence of intentional discrimination in actions by St. Bernard Parish, which neighbors New Orleans, when the parish sought to restrict rental housing opportunities, including actions to halt the development of rental housing and enacting a permit requirement for single-family rentals that exempted renters who were “related by blood” to the homeowners.
We suspect that Air Force Colonel Rob Maness isn’t the only person in Louisiana who is going to find this “guidance” somewhat offensive. Should make for an awkward day for Obama as he tours the state tomorrow to survey damage.
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