Preparing minority populations for emergencies: connecting to build a more resilient community
Miller, Paul L.
Crew, Danny O.
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Disagreement continues over events that resulted from the country's largest and most controversial natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina. Casualties due to poor evacuation procedures and inconsistent responses in search and rescue have been examined in the media and academia. Finger pointing trumps constructive discussion. Government officials sought to place responsibility at the feet of many including the victims. Likewise, others place blame on an ineffective government process that excludes people of color. Are government authorities really reaching out to minorities to bridge the gap, or are lapses in communication efforts systemic of a larger problem Shared experiences resulting from long-standing discrimination toward minority populations, particularly those of African descent, have historically affected their perception of government and its concern for their well-being. To quell this perception and add value to the emergency preparedness doctrine, a community-based approach emphasizing personal responsibility is most effective in bridging the trust gap and building resiliency, which will necessitate change in narratives that create the story lines of minority communities to promote social force change. The use of positioning theory variables will enable this change in both individual behavior and actions, and positively impact the next generations ability to be prepared for disaster.
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