September 5, 2005

JASON DEPARLE thinks that New Orleans is all about race. So — in a not entirely different way that DeParle should find troubling — does Steve Sailer.

But I think Bill Whittle is closer to the truth when he says it’s not about race, but about tribes. His colors aren’t black and white, or red and blue, but — well, read the whole thing and see what you think.

UPDATE: Some people who have come late to the party seem to think I’m endorsing Sailer’s analysis. Nope. I think that — like DeParle’s — it takes a racial line that I’m uncomfortable with. Which was the point.

Meanwhile, here are some people who are members of Bill’s tribe, whether they know it or not:

In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming “tribes” and dividing up the labor.

As some went down to the river to do the wash, others remained behind to protect property. In a bar, a bartender put near-perfect stitches into the torn ear of a robbery victim.

While mold and contagion grew in the muck that engulfed most of the city, something else sprouted in this most decadent of American neighborhoods – humanity.

“Some people became animals,” Vasilioas Tryphonas said Sunday morning as he sipped a hot beer in Johnny White’s Sports Bar on Bourbon Street. “We became more civilized.”

It happens that way, sometimes. (Via Kobayashi Maru).

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