“Do you know anything about chocolate?” the mayor said. “How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That’s the chocolate I’m talking about.”

Ray NaginThis was the defense New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin made when asked if his comments from earlier in the day could be considered “devisive.”

What were those comments?
Well, Mayor Nagin spoke with the theological authority of an apostle as he proposed that God must be angry at America – and especially black people. Why else would he send “hurricane after hurricane after hurricane.” He then went on to explain his desires for New Orleans to once again become a “chocolate city.” A CHOCOLATE CITY?? Some have said that this was in reference to the racially-charged 1970’s Funk song “Chocolate City” by Parliament. Frankly, I think that’s giving Mayor Nagin too much credit. Nagin has shown the national media on more than one occasion since the Katrina disaster that he speaks off the cuff and rarely will apologize later.

When were those comments said?
Monday, January 16th – Martin Luthor King, Jr. Day

Let’s put his point of view in perspective. There is a lot of talk about the rebuilding of New Orleans. So many of the poorest black residents have been displaced all over the country and the reality is that most will probably settle where they landed on a permanent basis. This idea, combined with the idea of new residential development being completely out of the price range of the majority of New Orlean’s displaced residents, has caused politicians, city planners and the general public to wonder what the NEW New Orleans will look like racially – compared to the pre-Katrina New Orleans. It was this worry, I believe, that N.O. would become a white playground that fueled Mayor Nagin’s comments on MLK Day.

So my question to you is: Were his comments racist? Were they simply inappropriate? Or, do you agree with him? Please tell me why you think so.

LA Times Article [link]
CNN Article [link]