President Obama has refused so far to survey the Louisiana flood disaster, but he did let state and local officials know that he’s watching to make sure they don’t engage in racial discrimination.
In a 16-page guidance issued Tuesday, the Obama administration, led by the Justice Department, warned Louisiana recipients of federal disaster assistance against engaging in “unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency).”
The guidance’s frameworks “highlight the importance of complying with nondiscrimination requirements of civil rights statutes, addressing the needs of the whole community, and ensuring equal opportunity to access recovery efforts.”
Needless to say, some Louisiana residents were offended, including the American Conservative’s Rod Dreher, who took umbrage at receiving an anti-discrimination lecture from Washington, D.C., as locals struggle to rescue, house and feed their neighbors.
“[E]verywhere you look you can find black folks and white folks loving on each other, helping each other through this crisis,” Mr. Dreher said in a Thursday post.
He referred to the guidance as a “long bureaucratic memo” issued by the “Department of Justice and many other agencies of the executive branch overseen by He Who Cannot Be Troubled to Leave Martha’s Vineyard.”
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Mr. Obama has come under fire for sticking to his two-week golf vacation on Martha’s Vineyard instead of taking time to survey the flooding in the Baton Rouge area, which has left 13 dead.
The administration guidance cited instances of discrimination in Gulf Coast states after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, such as “numerous media reports [that] showed images of African Americans stranded on roofs in New Orleans.”
“These images exposed significant inequalities in access to emergency response and recovery efforts,” said the guidance.
The memo also cited an ad aimed at evacuees saying that the renter preferred “two white females.”
Mr. Dreher said such discrimination is wrong and Louisianans need to “own our mistakes,” but that residents knee-deep in rescue efforts don’t appreciate being painted with the administration’s broad brush.
He quoted an email from a local named Jimmy who said, “Not many things get me seething, but this does,” calling Obama administration officials “dividers instead of uniters.”
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“Look no further than this ‘guidance’ press release telling us in the middle of it to be sure not to be racist, y’all,” said the email. “Meanwhile, our President enjoys golfing and Martha’s Vineyard and sunny skies. No visits, not even that reviled [George W.] Bush flyover. Just politically motivated, radically laced memos.”
More than 40,000 homes were damaged during the flooding, sparked by thunderstorms and a low-pressure system that began Aug. 5, which the Red Cross has described as the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.