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  1. #1
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    Racial disparity in Katrina insurance disuptes - but where is the fault?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/...n2119689.shtml

    Interesting. OK, so the insurers are cheapskates and trying to cheat everyone out of their rightful losses, as always, but on average, white families fight back, black familes take what was offered, resulting in a disparity. Now, there were some issues with getting in touch with people, but some of them say even had they known about the government help in fighting the insurance agencies, they wouldn't have trusted it or used it, because they just figure they'd lose (no evidence of a disparity among races in those who did fight, if I read correctly).

    So - how do you help people who refuse help? Is it really anyone's fault but their own if they decide they don't trust government, so won't give it a chance to help them?

  2. #2
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    Well the "Government" did "in essence" inform people, by radio, TV, and Computer, but the problem was: That most people did not have access to "the means" to get the message.

    Also, a couple "did fight" and get a slightly bigger settlement, but the "hoops" that they had to go through(while living off the money in their bank) was "for educated people with "resources" and the "means" to not get an immediate settlement.

    So let me see: The Insurers did offer a very low settlement, knowing full well that the "poorer" people needed the money "right away" because they don't have money in the bank to "live on" or "fix" up their house while "waiting" for the "long red tape process" of appealing to the State for a "fair" insurance settlement.

    A man is 75 years old, they could wait him out.......

    A women is living in Houston...did not know......

    No access to "electricity" so the message was not "widespread".

    So whom do I blame.......the insurance company because they "exploited" people who do not know who to "fight", do not have the means for a long battle, are not in the area, whom do not have an "education".

    But the insurance company would say: We had 300K claims.........

    Since when do insurance companies play fair.......

  3. #3
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    It's more a case of being poor/desperate than being black or white or brown or what have you. Those with some education and means will fight back, because they know they can, whether they see an ad telling them about a program or not.

  4. #4
    A year later, Louisiana residents living in white neighborhoods have been three times as likely as those in black neighborhoods to seek and get help from the state agency in their disputes with insurers, an Associated Press computer analysis shows.

    The analysis of Louisiana's insurance complaints settled in the first year after Katrina highlights a cold, hard truth exposed by the hurricane's winds and waters: People of color and modest means are often disconnected from the government institutions that can provide it, or distrustful of those in power.

    Although the insurance department sent their representatives to the city's nearly all-black Lower Ninth Ward, Roy and Doretha Kitchens were hundreds of miles away, having fled to higher ground. “The blacks didn't complain 'cause they got tired,” explained Doretha Kitchens, 58, who along with her husband accepted a $34,000 insurance settlement for their destroyed home, well below their $120,000 in actual damages. They say they eventually threw up their hands in despair, accepting what they considered an unfair offer, never realizing they could appeal to the state for help.


    Nearly 75 percent of the settled cases were filed by residents currently living in predominantly white neighborhoods. Just 25 percent were filed by households in predominantly minority ZIP codes, the analysis found. The analysis also suggests income was a factor. The average resident who sought state help lives in a neighborhood with a median household income of $39,709, compared with the statewide median of $32,566 in the 2000 Census.


    In New Orleans, where blacks made up two-thirds of the 454,863 pre-Katrina population, only about 445 homeowners resolved complaints with the state department. In contrast, the mostly white residents in suburban Slidell resolved more complaints (489) even though New Orleans' population is 16 times larger.

    Minority distrust in government also shows up in polling. AP-Ipsos polls taken shortly after the hurricane last year showed 56 percent of minorities said they doubted the government could really help them during a disaster.

    Alan Jenkins, a former Justice Department official in the Clinton administration who lobbies for minority opportunities, said AP's analysis reinforces a little-discussed reality exposed by Katrina. “The promise of opportunity isn't equally available,” he said. “Race and income has made a big difference in people's ability to start over.”

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/n...insurance.html

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Details
    Is it really anyone's fault but their own if they decide they don't trust government, so won't give it a chance to help them?
    Um, yeah. When certain people have 500 years of experience that tells them NOT to trust government or big business. I realize the rest of us are apt to feel impatient at what seems like short-sightedness. But what is naive to us may seem completely rational to people with a different history.

    I understand Billy's point that the problem in N.O. seems to be heavily influenced by income and education level. But in this country, those factors are historically tied to race. Add in a quite reasonable historical suspicion of authority (political and economic) and none of us should be surprised.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova
    Um, yeah. When certain people have 500 years of experience that tells them NOT to trust government or big business. I realize the rest of us are apt to feel impatient at what seems like short-sightedness. But what is naive to us may seem completely rational to people with a different history.

    I understand Billy's point that the problem in N.O. seems to be heavily influenced by income and education level. But in this country, those factors are historically tied to race. Add in a quite reasonable historical suspicion of authority (political and economic) and none of us should be surprised.
    Unless we have a brain ray that erases their brains, there's no way to do anything for someone who refuses your help. To me, this is the same as when an adult blames all their failings on their parents. Sure - their mom may have beat them when they were 7, and that was horrible, and no doubt has an impact on them still today. But as an adult, they have to realize that this cannot allow them to beat up on someone else, and that if that beating makes them choose to avoid all contact with women, it's their choice, and their chosen life.

    The government saw a problem. They set up assistance to deal with it. They publicized that assistance as much as they could, emphasising attempts to contact poorer neighborhoods. And some chose not to use it. Among those who did chose to use it - they got an average of $40,000 more money! For everyone who heard about it, or simply chose to fight, and found out about it that way - there is no racial disparity in how much more money they got - no racial bias at all. The only bias is that those who didn't choose to use this help, didn't choose to fight, tended to be black more than white.

    It's something that I think maybe needs to be taught in schools, or somewhere to balance this out. This isn't the only case I've seen of this type of thinking hurting black children. In an upper class neighborhood, with excellent schools, doing all they can to ensure an equal outcome, students of the same economic class, and black students do less well. The frustrated and puzzled school looks into it, and finds that the white parents are more likely to talk to the teacher, get involved, work with their kids on the homework, etc. - stay at home parents, income, everything balanced out, except race. Polls showed that the black parents had no idea of what the white parents were doing, they were just assuming that sending the kids to school, and nothing much more was what all parents did.

    There was another interesing poll that showed a huge amount of the statistical racial bias found in, IIRC, college admissions, was not present for African students. The reason claimed (by someone I was debating who was black, and by the article) was that they hadn't the history of racism, so they just came in expecting to be treated equally - without feeling inferior, without compensating and expecting racism - and were.

    It's a magic pill, makes bias go away, just by expecting to be treated equally, without being automatically on the attack expecting someone else to be a racist due to the color of their skin (I've experienced my share of that!), without removing yourself from the race because you assume racists will block you (when these days there are a lot of things stopping them, and a lot of old racists retiring and dying and being replaced by people who are not racists). Had the people quoted in this article expected and requested equal treatment, they would have gotten it - those that did, did get equal treatment. Those who expected no help, requested none, got none, and were racially discriminated against by themselves. (Money is indeed a major issue, can you afford to fight, but if I read the article right, race was the major factor of if someone got help or not, I'd assume adjusted for income).

    There is racism, and racists, and bias, and so many other things we need to improve and so many things that have improved immensely over the past century, decades, and years - but these don't help those who have already decided to give up. And I think there should be some recognition that it is their choice, and that it is not our problem to fix. And ideally, some work in schools on trying to educate kids to not give up, to not assume people are biased, and let that assumption become reality by your actions.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova
    Um, yeah. When certain people have 500 years of experience that tells them NOT to trust government or big business. I realize the rest of us are apt to feel impatient at what seems like short-sightedness. But what is naive to us may seem completely rational to people with a different history.

    I understand Billy's point that the problem in N.O. seems to be heavily influenced by income and education level. But in this country, those factors are historically tied to race. Add in a quite reasonable historical suspicion of authority (political and economic) and none of us should be surprised.
    Forgive me for sounding insensative but I'm from NO area and I'm so tried of the race card issue. Not ALL black people are poor and not ALL white people are wealthy with a higher education.
    Seems plenty of poor folks (both white and black) were able to find out about the Fema cards (what was it 3 or 5k???) handed out or the money handed out to pay for hotel rooms, etc....And didn't they say that some of those Fema cards were used for things like expensive designer purses and clothes and cosmetic surgery? Maybe they should have spent it on a TV or computer so they could be informed of what resources could be available to them after government assistance would cease.
    I've been to several countries; and granted our country doesn't have a perfect government, but compared to some I've seen I would take the good ole USA anyday...
    IMO..if people don't trust our government, they should move someplace else..wouldn't hurt my feelings!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova
    Um, yeah. When certain people have 500 years of experience that tells them NOT to trust government or big business. I realize the rest of us are apt to feel impatient at what seems like short-sightedness. But what is naive to us may seem completely rational to people with a different history.....
    Certain people have 10,000 years of experience being discriminated against by governments all over the world, and big business, small business, just about any business - women. A lot of that discrimination was completely legal until very, very recently, and plenty of bias and some legal discrimination still exists - although huge strides have been made. My mom told us about some of what she had to go through, I've seen it growing up, in college, and in some of the jobs I've had, some of the jobs I've been rejected for without even presenting a resume.

    Had I thought, "Oh, my mom was told not to take math classes, that they were useless for women, I'm not taking calculus/letting my calculus professor's mysogenistic tendencies discourage me from continuing" - I wouldn't be in my current job. Had I thought, "Oh, I shouldn't apply for computer related jobs, it's a male field, and they won't accept me" - I wouldn't be in my current job. Had I thought, "Oh, I tried to apply, and they wouldn't even look at my resume, just assumed I had no experience, I need to just give up and stay at my job in jewelry sales" - again, no good job, no good career. Had I let my one sexist manager who went out of his way to reject all my ideas condition me to be silent in meetings - no promotions, no advancement, no good career.

    Nothing I ran into was anything other than a few individuals, but there was a pattern to it, and it was a much bigger problem in my mom's career than mine - but if I took the approach that there were 10,000 years of discrimination history facing me, so I should expect it, and condition my responses appropriately - I'd have done poorly. By trying, and working past the discrimination there was, I've done well, and not preemptively rejected the good math/science/computer teachers who didn't care if I were male or female, not preemptively decided not to apply for a high level job, not made a bad or guarded working relationship with a manager who turned out to be one of my best.

    Some managers have been jerks, and some sexist jerks (never forget that sometimes a jerk is just a jerk, not a bigot), but if you don't play, you can't win.

  9. #9
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    Well that was a good post details...but

    The "Katrina" response was very slow, mostly poor black people suffered. Class bias and racial bias, in your face bias.

    A lot of people don't have the resources, fortitude, perservence, contacts, resources, knowledge, education and time to "appeal" to the Insurance board.

    So I feel that the black people were "further exploited" by the Insurance companies on this basis. Please do not tell me that black people and white people are "treated" equally, because they are not. Remember who enslaved whom, remember who were "hung" from a tree and treated like trash.

    I don't blame the black for being mistrustfull of the "Government" after all they were still stinging(big time) for the "utter" lack of a timely response to the suffering of "the poor black people" from the Government.

    I think until you are black, a person cannot "really" know how it feels, how they are treated, how they suffer......

    Just like men cannot know what it is like to be a women..........and be called "honey" by a fellow lawyer..........

  10. #10
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    And whose fault was this one? The government didn't discriminate - no one did. They went the extra mile to try to help. And....?

    What could be done differently? I see only one place where any change would be productive - and it's in the attitudes of those who decline help. Money and class are issues, but in this case, they weren't all of it. There were and are white poor too - and rich black people. Why is it the gov'ts fault if one person accepts their help and the other refuses?

    The government learns their lesson, and goes the extra mile. But it doesn't matter because people won't give them a chance. How long before even the best intentioned person throws up their hands and goes, "to heck with it - do what you want!"?


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova
    Um, yeah. When certain people have 500 years of experience that tells them NOT to trust government or big business. I realize the rest of us are apt to feel impatient at what seems like short-sightedness. But what is naive to us may seem completely rational to people with a different history.

    I understand Billy's point that the problem in N.O. seems to be heavily influenced by income and education level. But in this country, those factors are historically tied to race. Add in a quite reasonable historical suspicion of authority (political and economic) and none of us should be surprised.
    Well, to be honest, if I was still living in LA I wouldn't trust the state government either, because they're all a bunch of incompetent frauds whose necks you have to stand on to get anything done even when things are running ship shape. There is a lot of ingrained pessimism in LA, especially NO, in both the black & white cultures when it comes to politics. Living in LA--and NO in particular--has always been like living in a banana republic.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Details
    And whose fault was this one? The government didn't discriminate - no one did. They went the extra mile to try to help. And....?

    What could be done differently? I see only one place where any change would be productive - and it's in the attitudes of those who decline help. Money and class are issues, but in this case, they weren't all of it. There were and are white poor too - and rich black people. Why is it the gov'ts fault if one person accepts their help and the other refuses?

    The government learns their lesson, and goes the extra mile. But it doesn't matter because people won't give them a chance. How long before even the best intentioned person throws up their hands and goes, "to heck with it - do what you want!"?
    Well said .
    As far as I'm concerned the government has catered to many of the poor in LA way to long....the poor have grown to *expect* everything. Why go that extra mile to try and get a good job or higher education when you can just live off the government? I think that has been the mentallity of many in NO for way to long; it just took a tragedy like Katrina to bring it out into the open.
    As Details stated in another post..(in so many words) you only go as far as you strive....I don't care if your white, black, purple or green!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by czechmate7
    ...you only go as far as you strive....I don't care if your white, black, purple or green!!
    Maybe, but everyone doesn't start at the same point.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova
    Maybe, but everyone doesn't start at the same point.
    Nope - not at all. But sitting still ensures you stay there, and some spend all their time running downhill, while blaming others for their decline.

  15. #15
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    (ETA: Details and I posted at the same time. My remarks below are not addressed to him personally or his most recent post.)

    I can see that some people are really tired of the subject of racism. So never mind, then.

    But before we drop the subject entirely, let's note that in this very thread "those people" are accused of both (a) expecting the government to take care of everything; AND (b) not even reaching out for "free money" when it is available. I believe most thoughtful people would look at that paradox and suspect some factors more complex than mere laziness are involved.

    To say that people with a long and very different history may reason differently than I do is NOT to say those people are mindless puppets unable to change their ideas.

    But to say, in essence, "People with 500 years of a certain kind of experience should instantly reorient their thinking because we've told them times have changed," is naive at best, glib at worse. Maybe we need to do a better job of "telling them."

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