ATLANTA (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday that there is a "quiet riot" happening every day across America which could erupt like the riots in Los Angeles 15 years ago.
Speaking to several thousand people at Hampton University in Virginia, Obama said: "Those 'quiet riots' are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths. They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates.
"Despair takes hold and young people all across the country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get better."
The largely African-American audience of clergy interrupted Obama's speech with several ovations.
Obama criticized the Bush administration for neglecting New Orleans before, during and long after Hurricane Katrina.
"This administration was colorblind in its incompetence" responding to the disaster, Obama said. But the poverty was there long before.
"All the hurricane did was make bare what we ignore each and every day," Obama said. "All the hurricane did was pull back the screen."
Obama again condemned the Iraq war and also spoke about the need to raise the minimum wage and teachers' pay.
–CNN Political Assignment Editor Marissa Muller