In our discussions of Chiraq, 4LG, and When the Levees Broke, we discuss data and the impact on loss and grievance by statistics. We often feel numb to numbers and Lee’s films emphasize personal narratives to humanize mass tragedies.
I went to a resource that our Library has called Social Explorer. It’s really cool because it visualizes census data from any year on a map. What I have found particularly powerful (or abhorrent) is how it often displays how blatant socio-economic and racial segregation still is.
I encourage other people to check it out and play with it a little @ socialexplorer.com, but I also included some screenshots from my own research.
Now combine the above images with the one below (tracking income) to demonstrate the intense disparities. We are all aware (to different extents) how disproportionate things in this country are, but it is quite compelling to see these actual, substantial numbers as images and appearing right in front of you. (Though, in my opinion, films > maps )
Today, we discussed the New Orleans “diaspora” and I went back to Social Explorer to try to find census data on the displacement. Unfortunately there was not much data provided from any year 2001-2005 so I had a bit of trouble. Professor Parham did pull up a New York Times article, however, which does an amazing job of mapping the disaster and visually communicating the magnitude of devastation.