Recent weeks have been a revelatory experience for much of the mainstream media and through them for many middle class US white people: the hurricane laid bare the extreme poverty in which many African Americans pass their lives. Further, it reminded the nation that Black-White is our historic paradigm for understanding "race" in our collective lives.
But New Orleans and surroundings had many residents from other non-white groups; what happened to those communities? Here's some reporting beyond Black and white:
Somewhere between 20,000 and 35,000 undocumented persons, mostly of Mexican and Central American origin, lived in the path of the hurricane. Many did not evacuate; "four roommates - three Mexicans and a Honduran - decided to ride out the storm in their trailer in Marrero. They were asphyxiated by a faulty generator after the storm passed."
Those who weathered the storm looked for informal resources they could trust:
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security announced a 45-day moratorium on fining employers who hire undocumented workers.
Not surprisingly, Latinos are concerned that this gesture is just the prelude to the usual practice of using up and throwing away imported workers:
For the undocumented, Katrina very likely means more of the same, only tougher conditions.