What Mean Term “Environmental Racism”

Environmental Racism is the idea of businesses/industries polluting into poor minority places on purpose. The people who live near industrial areas are usually exposed to major health risks. 

In the article “Is There Environmental Racism? The Demographics of Hazardous Waste in Los Angeles County” from Google Scholar, Tom Boer, Pastor Manuel, James L. Sadd, and Lori D. Snyder discuss in their journal article that demographics help characterizes the location of Environmental Racism. Which is (TSDFs) “Hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.” The people who live in polluted communities and near industrial areas are usually people of color. However, some of the researchers have found out that TSDFs are located in poor minority communities. Other researchers thought that the TSDFs location is not because of racial factors, but are caused by income and industrial employment. Finally, the poorest communities like African Americans and Latinos have very little activity in economics while wealthier communities have more political and economic power compared to the poor communities. Race and ethnicity still play a significant role in were the TSDF location is at. With all the results, those poor communities are most likely going to be affected by TSDFs in most areas especially Los Angeles. The people who live in polluted communities and live near industrial areas are usually people of color. By the end of the article, the author hopes the readers understand that policymakers should pay a closer attention to the demographics of communities that raise attention to environmental injustice.

Tom Boer is a lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice and he is also a lawyer for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Tom Boer got his degree from George Washington University School of Law. Tom Boer is a well-respected lawyer. Which makes him qualified to write an article about Environmental Racism. There are other researches in the article which are Manuel Pastor who went to the University of California, Santa Cruz, Jr., James L. Sadd went to Occidental College Los Angeles, and Lori D. Snyder went to Yale University.

The article examines the issues of environmental racism and how industries dump their waste into poor communities. The article serves as a reminder of how demographics help characterize the location of Environmental Racism. Which is (TSDFs) “Hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.” The people who live in polluted communities and near industrial areas are usually people of color. I think I can use this article for my capstone essay in chapter two because of its specific detail about the specific location that companies dump their waste in poor color communities, the history of environmental racism, and how it is affecting African Americans.

In the interview “Environmental Justice: An Interview with Robert Bullard” a reporter, Errol Schweizer, asks Robert Bullard about his ideas on environmental injustice. Robert Bullard explains that environmental justice is when people are equally concerned about the environment, plants, animals, and wilderness areas. However, people are equally concerned about their living conditions and about children and adults who are being poisoned with lead in their drinking water. Today, people are still struggling to get these issues to be resolved. Nonetheless, people have made a lot of progress by talking, sharing, and working together along the way in order to make change happen. While this may be true, there's still a lot of progress that needs to be made in order to solve the problem. The reason why it needs to be solved is because environmental movement really reflects the “larger society. And society is racist. And so we can't expect a lot of our organizations not to somehow be affected by that”(Bullard). By the end of the interview, the author hopes his readers understand that, even though people have made a tremendous effort to solve environmental racism, there is still a long way to go before the issues can be resolved.

Author, Dr. Robert Bullard is a pioneering scholar, and he is an activist in the environmental justice movement. He is also a major researcher and organizer in the environmental movement. He attended Texas Southern University. This makes Robert Bullard qualified to talk about and advocate for environmental justice/racism.

The interview with Robert Bullard examines the issue of environmental racism. The article serves as a reminder that, while people have made a lot of progress by talking, sharing, and working together, there is still a lot of headway that needs to be made in order to solve the problem of racism. I believe I can use this interview for my capstone essay in chapter two because of its specific details about how people are making a change in order to solve environmental racism.

In the article “Charges of Environmental Racism Are Unfounded” from the Gale Opposing Viewpoints, Roger Clegg argues that the Environmental justice movement doesn't have any sort of facts or data that is worth adding to the debate about pollution. The Environmental justice movement over exaggerates on the idea that pollution causes health problems by saying that our environmental and health problems are largely racial. However, Roger Clegg believes that our environmental and health problems are not largely racial. Roger Clegg thinks that the environmental-justice movement also has “no support in the empirical data/evidence, its legal claims are unsound, and its desired results damage the health and economic possibilities of its intended beneficiaries”(Clegg). The worst part about the environmental-justice movement is that the environmental movement encourages “racial paranoia and a victim mentality, distracts attention and energy from valid public-health concerns, and discourages individuals from assuming personal responsibility and adopting a healthy lifestyle”(Clegg). The environmental justice movement has false evidence and it is a dangerous distraction to the people. By the end of the opposing viewpoint on environmental racism article, the author hopes the readers understand that environmental racism is false and that it damages health and economic possibilities.

Author, Roger Clegg, is a general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity. He used to be a former deputy in the civil rights, and he was also apart of the environmental divisions of the U.S. Justice Department. This makes Roger Clegg qualified to talk about and argue why environmental justice/racism is false. He graduated and got his degrees from Rice University and Yale University.

Environmental Racism is the idea of businesses/industries polluting into poor minority places on purpose. The people who live near industrial areas are usually exposed to major health risks. However, the article argues that Environmental justice is not real and how there is no support or data to prove that Environmental justice is a real issue. The author also states that Environmental justice over exaggerates on the idea that pollution causes health problems by saying that our environmental and health problems are largely racial. I think I can use this article for my capstone essay in chapter three of my essay because it gives details about how environmental racism is not real. I could argue my side of the argument that environmental racism is real, and give specific facts/information about how environmental racism is real.

In the article “Troubled Waters” from Inspire, Cynthia Gordy is a news editor with the ESSENCE. Cynthia traveled to Tennessee and followed the Holts on their charges of environmental racism. Sheila Holt-Orsted is an African American mother in Tennessee. Sheila discovered that the Dickson County Landfill dumped their toxic chemicals into Sheila Holt-Orsted well water. The pollution from the well water caused diseases such as cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical polyps, diabetes, immune disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and tumors. The family and others in Tennessee were assured that their drinking water was safe for ten years before a warning finally came. On the other hand, white families were immediately notified of the issue that their drinking wells were polluted, which was found in state records. By the end of the article, the author and Sheila Holt-Orsted hope the readers understand that people must take back their communities and stop industries from dumping toxic waste in “Black communities”; and African Americans must fight for environmental justice.

The article, “Troubled Waters,” found in the Inspire database, Cynthia Gordy has little information provided in the article about her credibility. Author, Cynthia Gordy is an assistant news editor at ESSENCE, Gordy previously worked in journalism at the White House. She mostly does journals on environmental justice/racism cases. This makes Cynthia Gordy qualified to talk about and advocate for environmental justice/racism.

The article serves as a reminder that the government and industries are purposefully polluting into minority communities because people of color have no political power. There is also evidence that proves that toxic chemicals can cause harmful diseases to humans, such as cancer, prostate cancer, cervical polyps, diabetes, immune disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and tumors. For instance, Sheila Holt-Orsted family members and others that live in her community were diagnosed by cancer. This horrible event outraged Sheila by wanting to fight for environmental justice. I think I can use this article for my capstone essay in chapter two because I can talk about the terrible diseases that people get from the polluted water. Additionally, I can also argue about how the government and industries do not care about disposing of their toxic waste in poor minority communities.

In the documentary “A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet” Directed by Mark Kitchell, Bullfrog Films, summarizes the environmentalism movement during the 1960s to the present. Mark Kitchell investigates the environmental movement and the role of global activism over the past fifty years, he divides the documentary into five main acts: Climate Change, Pollution(environmental pollution), Alternatives, Conservation, and Going Global. Mark Kitchell also explicate the environmental struggles during the environmental movements. For example, the Sierra Club’s fighting industries from exploding the Grand Canyon; the battle for environmental justice/racism at the Love Canal; Greenpeace’s campaign to save the whales and seals from the Russians; saving the Amazon rainforests; the threat of climate change, which caused global warming. Each of these acts helps mark a stage in the development of environmental justice. This film helps bring together all the major components of environmentalism. It focuses on activism, “people fighting to save their homes, their lives, the future and succeeding against all odds”(Kitchell). By the end of the film, the producer hopes the audience would help support environmentalism.

Author, Mark Kitchell, producer, director, writer of A Fierce Green Fire(2012), Berkeley in the Sixties (1990), and American Masters (1985). Mark Kitchell won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Non-Fiction Film. Kitchell mainly produces films on environmentalist movement. This research makes his documentaries or films more reliable while he produces about environment conflicts.

The film relates to the issues of equality, environmental hazards/pollution, racism, health issues, etc. The film serves as a reminder of how people need to make a change by standing up to business on how to not pollute and especially to not pollute in poor minority communities. If the government allows this issue to keep happening then the problem of “environmental inequity” will continue. People and activists need to keep protesting and fighting for the environment. I think I can use this article for my capstone essay in chapter two because of its specific detail about the history of environmental racism and explain the effects that people have when living in polluted areas. 

Sources

  1. Boer, J. Tom et al. “Is There Environmental Racism? The Demographics of Hazardous Waste in Los Angeles County.” Social Science Quarterly, vol. 78, no. 4, 1997, pp. 793–810. ©2000-2018 JSTOR. All Rights Reserved JSTOR, www.Jstor.org/stable/ 42863732.Accessed 26 September 2018.
  2. Bullard, Robert. “Environmental Justice: An Interview with Robert Bullard.” Environmental Justice: An Interview with Robert Bullard, July 1999, www.ejnet.org/ej/bullard.html.Accessed 11 October 2018.
  3. Clegg, Roger. 'Charges of Environmental Racism Are Unfounded.' Racism, edited by Mary E. Williams, Greenhaven Press, 2004. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010060240/OVIC?u=fort42809&sid=OVIC&xid=e06cd8a7. Accessed 17 Oct. 2018.
  4. Gordy, Cynthia. “Troubled Waters.” Essence, vol. 38, no. 3, July 2007, p. 146. MasterFILE Premier,EBSCOhost,search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=25358868&authtype=geo&geocustid=s8475741&site=ehost-live&scope=site.Accessed 12 November.
  5. A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet. Directed by Mark Kitchell, Bullfrog Films, 2012.Youtube,www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_fW_7WzSXk.