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Hurricane Katrina: African American Children's Perceptions of Race, Class, and Government Involvement Amid a National Crisis

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The devastation associated with Hurricane Katrina raised several issues related to race, class, and the government in the United States. We examined African American children's (a) knowledge of demographic characteristics of the victims, (b) beliefs about the role of race and class biases in the delayed relief efforts, and (c) views of the role and effectiveness of the government in response to the disaster. Overall, results indicated that older African American children were less likely to attribute the delayed relief to individual culpability, and slightly more likely to attribute it to racial discrimination, than were younger African American children. All youth believed in a strong, but nuanced, role of the government, but younger children were more likely to rate it as effective. Among those children who had discussed the disaster with a parent, children's attributions for the delayed relief were associated with their political views.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of California, Los Angeles 2: University of Texas at Austin

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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