Race, Ethnicity and Disasters in the United States Report

January 17, 2022 by Essay Writer

The article by Fothergill, Maestas, and Darlington examines the issues of race and ethnicity on the example of natural disaster research and addresses the existing challenges and corresponding solutions. The authors emphasize that inequality and risks associated with the technological and natural environment remain one of the unresolved problems. It is argued that studies concerning disaster management and racism, insecurity, and economic strength do not provide sufficient synthesis. The authors aim at revealing the tendencies in the large body of academic literature on natural disaster and policies concerning race and ethnicity. By means of the eight-stage typology based on the chronological sequence approach, the information gained from the available sources is analyzed and exemplified.

First and foremost, risk perception data are analyzed. Taking into account the contradictory information received from different articles, the authors present the most essential findings and point out that racial and ethnical communities are reportedly subject to the influence of potential danger. Several examples are provided; one of them touches upon the earthquake threats studies pertaining to fatalism and haphazard events including natural catastrophes. According to the article under analysis, people of color and their communities are generally more vulnerable that the whites and their local areas.

The second emphasized stage refers to preparedness. It is underlined that few studies have been carried out, and they also identify non-white population as the unfavored social group. Awareness and education are the focus of the researchers’ attention: while the opportunities to receive money after the earthquake are given, the detailed information is available only in English. Consequently, some of the minorities fail to discover what they should do. Lack of training is also believed to be influential. Besides, the authors explain this state of affairs by the high costs connected with rebuilding.

Studying the third stage, warning communication and response, Fothergill, Maestas, and Darlington put forward the idea that warning and its various aspects, e.g., its efficiency, response procedures, and information reliability, are represented in the studies to an adequate degree. As the research indicates, Hispanics tend to utilize social networks more frequently, regard mass media as a credible source of information, and count on kinship to a greater extent than any other group.

Further, physical impacts, namely morbidity, mortality, injury statistics, and material losses, are discussed: in this respect, the authors discover that secure housing issues become vital. They give some data on several disaster research articles and prove that older and poorer houses of minorities cause more harm to people’s health while the money losses are less than those of the whites.

Psychological impact is seen as one of the most sensitive matters, and the detected limits in research are explained by the assumptions that investigators feel uncomfortable with the topic and work with homogeneous groups. Still, the authors of the article register a considerable number of works and reiterate that non-white people are, again, at a disadvantage. They provide several examples, such as the fear of earthquakes that is more characteristic of Hispanics.

Later on, the literature on emergency response is analyzed. Culturally insensitive emergency personnel, the authors state, is the major problem in this sphere. The specialists sometimes do not take into consideration languages, food supply, and media contents. It is illustrated by the studies of emergency measures that demonstrate the shortage of bilingual professionals, the information available only in English, and the wrong choice of the ingredients for meals.

The authors also discuss recovery in the context of one-year period changes. The information about the patterns of related to race and ethnicity is provided. The researchers highlight the marginalization of the damaged communities of color during the recovery stage and single out many problem areas among which pressure for money, unemployment, limited access to information, restoring documents, and interaction with recovery agencies become the most important research topics. It may be stated that, by and large, non-white communities do not receive the same support as the white areas.

Finally, reconstruction is viewed as the stage that researchers sometimes ignore. Fothergill, Maestas, and Darlington discuss housing issues one more time and evaluate the way communities deal with long-term challenges, namely infrastructure renewal, receiving loans, assistance requirements, and permanent residence. It is claimed that race and ethnicity make an impact in terms of reconstruction: for instance, people of color are less likely to be given loans, and communication with the authorities is also connected with obstacles in the form of the linguistic barrier.

Having analyzed the contents of the natural disaster and race research, the authors arrive at the logical conclusion that risk and vulnerability of non-white people and communities are high. In connection with the revealed problems, they mention that some progress has been made since some agencies take measures related to natural disaster and issues of race and ethnicity. However, the situation should be improved, and the recommendations are provided: the authors believe that proper housing, cultural education, cooperation between local communities and practitioners, and research are to be addressed in order to solve the existing problems and minimize losses and damages.

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