Was the levee break that precipitated the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina the result of some government conspiracy against blacks?

A Washington Post columnist says he’s amazed by the large number who believe such a notion.

Eugene Robinson

“I was stunned in New Orleans at how many black New Orleanians would tell me with real conviction that somehow the levee breaks had been engineered in order to save the French Quarter and the Garden District at the expense of the Lower Ninth Ward, which is almost all black,” the Post’s Eugene Robinson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“These are not wild-eyed people. These are reasonable, sober people who really believe that. And that tells you something about our racial divide in New Orleans.”

Robinson expressed his personal rejection of the idea, noting, ” I don’t for a minute think the Corps of Engineers or the city of New Orleans would be clever enough to do that at this point.”

Last week, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan sparked controversy by spreading racist conspiracy theories.

“I heard from a very reliable source who saw a 25-foot deep crater under the levee breach,” Farrakhan said. “It may have been blown up to destroy the black part of town and keep the white part dry.”

Robinson said a positive aspect of Katrina was that the disaster put the issue of race relations in America back on the front burner.

“One thing it shows is that – is that problems of race and class don’t get better if you just kind of ignore them and pretend they’re not there, which is, essentially what – you know, what this country has done for a while. And it – Katrina certainly did kind of pull back the facade,” he said.

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