Charles Ellison, of “The Root,” wrote a piece last week, titled “Making sure your Houston relief money is going to the black folks who need it most isn’t easy,” that suggested those handling relief funds in Houston need to take race into account when doling out the monies.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson agreed that Ellison made some good points in the story about poor people needing relief and sometimes being overlooked, but he asked Ellison why race had to be brought into the argument.
“What I was bothered by in your piece was the racial angle,” Carlson said. “The idea that aid ought to be given on the basis of race seemed like a really divisive way to think about it and I’m wondering why you did.”
Ellison argued that “was definitely not the argument that (he) was putting forth” but that he was highlighting issues of race and class that play a factor.
“Thirty percent of the population lives under the poverty line and a disproportionate amount of them are black and Latino,” he said. “There are also many Caucasians who are living with poverty, or are renting as well in Harris County so I definitely don’t want to suggest that we should just specially or uniquely single out certain demographics, or favor certain demographics over others.”
“Why include race at all? Storms have nothing to do with race,” Carlson said. “And in fact, one of the beauties of watching the recovery effort is that it is multiracial, and you see people of different groups helping each other, and it brings out the best in a lot of ways of people.”
Ellison agreed that it was nice to see the races working together but that it is “often short-lived” following disasters.
But he again stressed that he was not calling for special treatment for black people in the recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
And while that may have been the argument he made in front of Carlson, that’s not exactly what he said in his piece when he was not being challenged.
“As government and nongovernmental agencies transition into the recovery phase, there’s growing skepticism that they will prioritize black and brown folks dealing with the compounded devastation from generations of dire economic straits—and, now, climate-change-instigated ‘1,000-year’ floods,” he wrote.
It appears blatant that he is calling for black and brown people to be prioritized over white people because of the idea that they have been disadvantaged economically for generations.
“The raw emotional reaction for most Americans is to get online and dump donations into the Red Cross,” he wrote. “But historically, Red Cross money doesn’t always find its way to hurting black folks. That comes from experience: When Katrina hit, black residents watched Red Cross dollars flow more easily to white areas than harder-hit black ones.”
He even directed anger at celebrities, and former President Obama, for asking for donations to the Red Cross.
“Instagramming and tweeting black celebrities like Kevin Hart and former President Barack Obama earnestly egg the public into one big national telethon for the Red Cross. Crazy amounts of cash are heading straight to organizations that won’t be prioritizing anyone black or brown, least of all those who don’t own a home,” Ellison said.
A far cry from telling Carlson that he didn’t want to “specially or uniquely single out certain demographics.”
Ellison’s argument, in his piece, wasn’t that black and brown people weren’t being helped by the Red Cross or other agencies. It’s that they were not being prioritized.
It’s a shame that he didn’t have the courage to stick to his argument when he took on Tucker.