How Ethnically Marginalized Americans Cope with Catastrophic Disasters. Studies in Suffering and Resiliency

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This edited volume explores the experiences of minority groups within American society in the aftermath of disaster. Focusing on four minority groups, Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans and Latinos, contributing authors discuss the various strategies used by these groups to recover from natural and technological disasters in the midst of their heightened social vulnerability.


"Minority Resiliency and the Legacy of Disaster is an edited volume that offers the promise of examining the disaster experiences of several racial-ethnic minority groups in the United States. The work is particularly focused on highlighting the diverse yet consistently resilient responses to natural and technological disasters. Each section of the book, containing an introduction and three chapters, focuses on the experiences of a different racial-ethnic group: Native Americans in Section I; Asian Americans in Section II; African Americans in Section III; and Hispanics in Section IV.
Of note is the effort undertaken by many of the authors to offer theoretical and especially historical/contextual overviews of the issues they are focused on in their chapter. Further, the authors have generally done a solid job of framing the specific cases they develop within broader, well-established themes in the social sciences. Some of these themes include: environmental and social justice; historical and contemporary instances of systemic and intentional discriminatory harm; and individual and collective agency." -Dr. Todd Matthews, University of West Georgia

“The book offers both a top-down and bottom-up approach in understanding resiliency among the ethnic minority various groups. The authors provide a strong foundation encompassing both historical analysis and cultural depictions, which facilitates the understanding of government and individual responses to disasters. Further, Minority Resiliency and the Legacy of Disaster offers insight by illustrating germane areas that have impacted each respective minority group. More importantly, it clearly delineates what resiliency means for each group.” – Prof. Anita Bledsoe Gardner, Johnson C. Smith University

From the Foreword
"These original chapters provide a comparative perspective that illuminates the unique and common problems that beset minority groups in the aftermath of natural and technological disasters. High-risk situations are not simply defined by “time and space,” but rather involve many socially generated inequalities that reveal power relations deeply rooted in the historical context of the minority experience.” – J. Steven Picou, University of South Alabama

Table of Contents


Jason D. Rivera and DeMond S. Miller Social and Disaster Vulnerability
Minority Groups and Barriers to Resiliency
Overcoming Barriers to Build Resistance

Section One
Introduction Native American Experiences with Disaster
Jason D. Rivera

Chapter 1
Native Americans, Disasters, and the U.S. Government: Where Responsibility Lies
Clem Durham, Jr., and DeMond S. Miller

Chapter 2
Ethnography, Memory, and Culture: Healing the Soul Wound of Technological Disaster
Michelle Jacob

Chapter 3
Fostering Resiliency in Renewable Resource Communities Subsistence Lifescapes and Social Capital
Liesel A. Ritchie and Duane A. Gill

Section Two
Introduction Asian American Experiences with Disaster
Joel Yelin

Chapter 4
At Home in Silicon Valley: One End to the Katrina Diaspora
Frances L. Edwards

Chapter 5
Vietnamese Americans in New Orleans East: From Vietnamese Village to Asian Quarter?
Wei Li, Christopher A. Airriess, Karen Leong, Angela Chia-Chen Chen, and Verna Keith

Chapter 6
Silicon Valley’s Elderly Chinese Immigrants and Disaster Vulnerability
Frances L. Edwards and Yvonne Wong

Section Three
Introduction African American Experiences with Disaster
Dana M. Greene

Chapter 7
Environmental Equity and Natural Disasters
Glenn S. Johnson and Shirley A. Rainey
Chapter 8
To Return or Relocate? That is the Question: African American Housing Decisions in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
John Barnshaw and Lynn Letukas

Chapter 9
We’ve Come This Far by Faith: Resiliency Among Older Katrina Survivors
Erma J. Lawson

Section Four
Introduction Latino Experiences with Disaster
DeMond S. Miller

Chapter 10
Impediments to Latino Resiliency and Incorporation? A Study of Linguistic Profiling in the Housing Market Before and After Hurricane Katrina
Jeannie Haubert Weil

Chapter 11
Developing Social Vulnerability to Disasters in the Coastal Regions of Puerto Rico: Social, Political, and Economic Processes
Jenniffer M. Santos-Hernández, Havidán Rodríguez, and Walter Díaz

Chapter 12
Disaster and Social Vulnerability: The Case of Undocumented Mexican Migrant Workers
Laura M. Stough, Edgar Villarreal, and Linda G. Castillo

Vulnerability of the Underclass: Why the Most Vulnerable Are Always the Last to Know
Patric R. Spence, Christine Eith, and Kenneth A. Lachlan
Creative Democracy and Diversity in the Struggle for Minority Group Empowerment and Survival
Omar Swartz and Katia Campbell

Author Biographies

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