Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 7, 2005

Whites letting down their fellow citizens

People criticize President Bush for his slow response in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and some even say if it were a white middle-class city things would have been different. Who knows, maybe they're right, but frankly what a bunch of hypocrites.

I work at a store collecting money for the Red Cross, and most of our customers are white middle-class college students buying liquor. I can tell you almost all our black, Hispanic, Indian and most of all Arab customers donated money. Some were so poor they were donating their last pennies.

What alarmed me was that in the entire night only two white people donated money. Tell me how this isn't an issue of race or class. I pay out-of-state tuition, and my family has less money than 90 percent of the students at this university. However, I donated my entire paycheck, but other people can't spare the pennies from their latest beer run?

This is America. We're all equal regardless of race or class. In the face of tragedy, we all have a moral and ethical obligation to help each other. Sure there are individual white people donating money to the relief effort, but as a city and as a nation we are failing our own people. Think about that on your next beer run when you're handed your change. I have never in my life been so ashamed to be a white person in America. As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin put it, "Excuse my French, America, but I am pissed!"

Jessica Sanderson

political science senior

Cuban rights violations should be main concern

Cuba Libre - ain't that a joke! First of all, Cuba is not a land of spicy food. I think you are getting Cuba confused with Mexico.All Latin countries, despite whatstereotypes exist,do not have a diet rich in hot, spicy food.

You said, "The Cuban people have suffered through the economic hardship placed on them because of the embargo." What about the hardships placed on them by Castro and his dictatorship? Things like free speech, press and religion. Not to mention to be able to enter and exit the country as one pleases.

You also stated, "Granted, I have a slight stake in the embargo being lifted because there's nothing I enjoy more than relaxing on a beach with a Cuban cigar and good cocktail, watching fully restored '57 Chevys cruising the streets. " Do you also enjoy watching former teachers prostitute themselves to the highest paying tourist? How does it make you feel that the local waitress bringing you the cocktail can't purchase anything from, eat in or enter the same stores that you do?

The next time you go downfor pristine beaches, cheap rum and cohibas, let me know how many human rights violations you witness.

Bon voyage, Mr. Morefield.

John Lopez

Los Angeles

Bush reaction to hurricane

Katrina too slow

How long does it take for this president to react to horrendous events? Believe me when I tell you I am not a Democrat or Republican, but come on! Why did he hesitate when he was informed of the Sept. 11 attacks? Why did it take him five days to get to New Orleans?

These people are experiencing hardship that has not been seen in this country before, and yet the government of the greatest country in the world is slow to react. I'm sure the aid that has reached the area is greatly appreciated by everybody there, but the United States should be able to do a lot more for its own people and in a much quicker form.

Sergio Olmedo-Nieto

senior majoring in Spanish

Bush reaction delayed, inappropriate

My 26-year-old brother is flying in to Phoenix to stay with my mother because his house in New Orleans is gone. He has no home, no job, four changes of clothes, two pairs of shoes and some toiletries. He is, however, one of the lucky ones. He is alive. My uncle is still missing.

I don't know why the leader of our nation waited so long to help. Bear with me, this is not political - this is personal. He says he loves America, but it seems to me like he hates Americans. I don't want to express my politics, but I want to urge you to help. If he will not, then we can. Even if you have no floor to offer someone and no way to send someone aid in a direct manner, please pray for them.

In an interview with the mayor of New Orleans, they had to bleep out about every other word because he was so distressed and disgusted at our government's efforts. The police chief of New Orleans was reduced to tears because he cannot get the help he needs to restore order to his city where people are dying, being robbed, girls are being raped and property is being even further destroyed.

I wish for our troops to come home and help if they wish, and then go to their families instead of dying for a zealot's holy war. This is an outrage at how our leader is treating the American people. When the twin towers fell, he was there amongst the rubble promising unity and vengeance before the dust cleared. When a hurricane rocked our nation he was nowhere to be seen, perhaps because swearing vengeance against Mother Nature would seem ludicrous, or perhaps because he simply didn't care.

At least I am thankful that amid this lack of humanity I have found mine and I cannot idly stand by.

Aaron Grafe

German studies junior

Borders, fences should be torn down

This is in response to June's editorial letter about the discussion of illegal immigrants being unnecessary ("Discussion of illegal immigrants unnecessary"). I totally agree but not for the same reason (aiding and abetting is against the law, she stated). I think it is unnecessary because there shouldn't be a border. We should tear down all the fences and other deterrents keeping people out. "Illegal immigrants" are human beings, and people who wish to forget that fact hide behind labeling them as otherwise.

As for the "destruction of America" there are plenty of "Americans" doing that, without any help from people who come from other countries. Just read any daily newspapers or Internet news and the glaring effects of what damage Americans do to property, adults and children are heartbreaking. In America there are also people who are born and raised here who are violent, who offer and accept bribes and who have no respect for the laws of the United States.

It seems that America has a history of allowing "illegal immigrants" into this country only when they serve a purpose (i.e. slavery). And something else, on which I agree with June, is that business owners shouldn't hire the "illegal immigrants" unless they are willing to help them acquire legal status and offer them the same job entitlements that "legal American immigrants" receive. Some business owners tend to take advantage of the fact that some people don't feel legally free to expose the mistreatment that they are receiving from their bosses.

I am grateful that Native Americans didn't keep out the first people who came from another country (and all the other "illegal immigrants" who followed), otherwise I probably would not be here in this wonderful, caring, loving land.

Pam Rada

psychology and sociology senior

Katrina aftermath reveals America's identity

Just as the events of Sept. 11 revealed the deficit in the average American's understanding of the peoples of the Middle East, so has the increasing tragedy on the Gulf Coast shown our ignorance of ourselves, of our own identity.

There is no denying that the vast majority of those too poor to evacuate New Orleans and Biloxi before the hurricane struck were black, yet we in America seem to have been in denial of such a reality.

The race problem in this country is as real this week as it was in Montgomery, as it was at Appomattox and as it was in Jamestown almost 400 years ago. Any raw census information will show that blacks and other minorities are disproportionately poor, undereducated and involved in crime.

So, having disposed in this enlightened age of our past and backwards ideas about race and humanity, how are we as Americans to explain what was quite literally blown open in the Gulf?

As I see it, the only way is to embrace our history our awful, terrible history and allow it to shape our identity just as we have allowed the denial of this history to form us these last centuries. It's a part of us and to fix it we must know it.

Nobody is unseen, whether we in drier climates like it or not. And we must guard ourselves from thinking so, because believing that someone does not exist changes the world for the worse.

Jordy VandeBunte

Near Eastern studies graduate student

The phrase "survival of the fittest" is wildly optimistic for the situation of the Gulf Coast this month. I don't think that Americans were the victims of the hurricane. It is a natural disaster after all; the entire nation this past week has been victimized. Opening the Internet browser this morning, the MSNBC home page showed a depressing reality. "Katrina cleanup Residents return to parish; Grim New Orleans recovery continues." More powerful was a picture of a grave, which appears to be a large piece of fabric covering a body, holding to the ground with an outline of bricks from a garden, spray painted on the fabric are the words "Here Lies Vera [a picture of a cross] God Help Us."

Politics. Politics are everything in this country, if not more. We as a nation have created a Department of Homeland Security. The United States spends roughly $100 billion per year on homeland security. My understanding of this is that our country is ready to protect its people. Our government is ready to protect us from bombs, suicide bombers and any other form of a terrorist attack. But a hurricane?

Robert Valenzuela

pre-business freshman