Playing the race card

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2005

To the editor,

My daughter called Friday night.

She was in shock.

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She and her husband were watching an NBC telethon for hurricane victims.

Though she had taken supplies to the Birmingham/Jefferson Civic Center earlier that day – a collection point in the Birmingham area – a rap musician named Kanye West said during the telethon that America was sending relief to the black people of New Orleans “as slow as possible,” and that the president she loves “doesn’t care about black people.”

I must admit I knew nothing of Kanye West’s music, but I did some web-surfing and read a few of the lyrics he raps.

I think Mr. West has no room to lecture the rest of us about decency!

We turned our television on after her call and were shocked, too, to hear Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland saying that there was race involved in what he called our “slow response” to the disaster, and Rev. Jesse Jackson agreeing that “George Bush doesn’t care” about black people in New Orleans.

Is this any way to encourage Americans to give and do more?

Everyone I know is trying to find ways to help our friends in Mississippi and New Orleans.

I’d not heard race mentioned previously by anyone writing checks to the Red Cross and other organizations and collecting food and supplies to ship to ravaged areas.

Good and decent people are rising to the challenge and providing help to whoever needs it. In the days following another tragedy – 9/11 – we had the effective leadership of Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

He didn’t criticize the government agencies and benevolent organizations trying to assist in this unique circumstance, nor did he interject race into the discussion.

He no doubt could have since the World Trade Center was filled with people from scores of nations around the world.

Instead Giuliani busied himself coordinating relief efforts, thanking the nation for help and giving credit to the wonderful police and firefighters who labored under difficult circumstances and put their lives on the line.

Giuliani inspired a nation that needed assurance when we all were fearful of what might happen next.

Shame on you Elijah Cummings and Jesse Jackson and Kanye West!

I suggest you gentlemen purchase a copy of Giuliani’s book, “Leadership,” and learn something about motivation and inspiration.

Michael J. Brooks