One Ebony Voice

The thoughts and views of an African-American...

The Hypocrisy of Criticism

Since he announced his re-entry plan for the citizens of New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin's plan and his decisions concerning that plan have been second guessed by CNN reporters and commentators. CNN personnel have interviewed federal officials, elected and otherwise, asking them whether or not Mayor Nagin's plan should be enacted. Fortunately, the Mayor has received support from federal officials interviewed.

However, when CNN reporters and commentators spoke of the problems concerning the evacuation that took place in parts of Texas prior to Hurricane Rita reaching the shore, they said that the Texas officials, had done a good job for their first evacuation of this magnitude.

I have no doubt in my mind that the Texas officials did the best job they possibly could and and that any problems that occurred were do to this being the first time they had attempted such an endeavor. I have no criticism at all of any Texas official. However I do question the criticism of the CNN reporters and commentators who take it upon themselves to be "Monday morning quarterbacks".

Why is it that Ray Nagin's decisions are called into question, and the decisions of Texas officials are excused away as "this was the first time"? Why can't Ray Nagin be given the same benefit of the doubt? Is it because he is black?

In another instance, the commentator on a CNN TV Show, upon reporting that Wynton Marsalis is a member of the 17-member Bring New Orleans Back Commission named by Ray Nagin, stated that it would take more than a jazz musician to rebuild New Orleans. Why shouldn't Wynton Marsalis be a part of the commission named to rebuild his hometown? Would the same CNN commentator have made a similar remark if Richard Simmons or Ellen DeGeneres had been named as a member of this commission?

Just because he is an accomplished jazz musician, does that mean Wynton Marsalis does not have the intellectual prowess needed to be a part the rebuilding process? If Mr. Marsalis lacked the intellectual skills to be a part of the commission, I don't think he would have become an accomplished jazz musician. Also, saying that it would take more than a jazz musician to rebuild New Orleans is overlooking the fact that there are also sixteen other concerned individuals named by Ray Nagin who will be working with Mr. Marsalis. Is Mr. Marsalis' presence on the commission so overshadowing that it would impede input given by any of the other sixteen members?

I have often heard it said in this nation that citizens of a local community should take an active role in the running of their community. However, I am beginning to wonder whether or not persons who hold this view only believe this is true if the citizens who take an active role are not African-American. It seems to me that when African-Americans such as Ray Nagin and Wynton Marsalis step up to the plate, they are unfairly criticized, and when Caucasian-American civic leaders encounter unforseen difficulties in their endeavors, they are supported and praise for their good faith efforts. This to me is hypocrisy.

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