Environmental Racism
Let's start by defining racism; as defined by the Merrian-Webster dictionary, "racism is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race". One might think this is something from the past, although the majority of people might not know that in today's society we still have racism; more specifically environmental racism. Everyone should be well inform of what this issue is because it is affecting the health and quality of life of black and Latino underprivileged communities.
It is sad to see how many communities today are being treated as if they don't matter. Communities all around the country where underprivileged people live are dealing with waste facilities located in their communities. These facilities are affecting the members of said communities. People are getting sick, and they are being exposed to health issues due to the polluted air and contaminated waters. These people are just deducting years off their lives.
In an interview done by Gregory Dicum from Grist.org to Dr. Bullard who is known as the Father of Environmental Justice; Dr. Bullard was asked to give a sense of the scale of problems surrounding some of the schools in the communities affected. He responded:
"Moton Elementary school in New Orleans, is built on top of a landfill, causing a lots of problems with the water in the school. The playgrounds in Norco, La., in Cancer Alley, are across from a huge Shell refinery. You stay there 15 minutes and you can't breathe. And in South Camden., N.J., there are schools and playgrounds on the waterfront where you have all this industry, all this nasty stuff. Almost two-thirds of the children in that neighborhood have asthma. In West Harlem, the North River Water Treatment Plant covers eight blocks near a school. On the south of Chicago, it's the same kind of thing"
It is definitely good to know where this issue happens. Now, one can relate or at least give a little more consideration to the matter, and have a better understanding of what these communities deal with. As it is noted by Dr. Bullard conditions in which these communities are leaving are not appropriate, people should not have to live under these circumstances, and small kids should not be paying with their health because of the polluted air from their cities. His response is definitely helpful to serve as a summary for those who didn't have a previous knowledge about the situation in these locations.
Although, many of us are not dealing with this personally I feel that is important to have some knowledge because that way we could do something or at least try to help. We might not be able to help those communities directly but we can always be involved in a way that helps the environment. We must never forget that their polluted air will later or sooner become ours because air travels and with it comes pollution. That is why I would like to talk about Majora Carter she is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens. The South Bronx native draws a direct connection between ecological, economic and social degradation. Hence her motto: "Green the ghetto!" [TED.com]. I saw the video of a speech she gave to TED on Urban Green Activism, her speech was very informative and emotional, she is one of those people that draws you in, that makes you pay attention, I think what she had to say about the poor side of Bronx being the aim for all the waste just le ft me thinking about all the people that live there. Like Majora we can get involve and help our community to become more concerned about the environment and the communities and the relation between both.
You will never see a waste facility or distillation plant in a rich neighborhood. In an investigation done by Dr. Bullard, where through the comparison of the white and black neighborhoods, he saw an excessive presence of environmental hazards. These were creating health problems for the people in these areas, and giving them a higher risk to get