Blacks and Latinos Have Shared Experiences in Post-Katrina N.O.

Louisiana Weekly, June 22, 2009

African Americans and Latinos living in New Orleans share remarkably similar experiences and are willing to work together to bridge differences according to a new study released last Tuesday by Oxfam America and Dr. Silas Lee & Associates.

The new study, “Building Common Ground,” reveals vast similarities in the post-Katrina experiences of two groups often considered separately in discussions on hurricane recovery and rebuilding. While the study revealed many of the tensions and misconceptions that existed between the two groups, it demonstrated that there is very fertile ground upon which African Americans and Latinos can forge new relationships to combat some of the challenges they face together.

The results of the study were presented Tuesday at Xavier University and were followed by a panel discussion. {snip}

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The study found striking similarities, including:

* A majority of African Americans (56 percent) and Latinos (88 percent) said their communications and language skills were a major factor in the discrimination they face;

* A majority of African Ameri cans (66 percent) and Latinos (59 percent) identified “access to decent affordable housing” as a major problem;

Likewise, majorities of both African Americans (69 percent) and Latinos (60 percent) also identified “receiving fair treatment in the criminal justice system” as a major problem.

The report also identified some of the obstacles and opportunities for working together on the issues both groups experience:

* Language differences and a general lack of social interaction were identified as major barriers to creating alliances for social change in New Orleans;

* Both African Americans (60 percent) and Latinos (63 percent) said a lack of trust between the two groups was also a very major barrier to those alliance;

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