4.24.2008

Environmental Racism and "US"


Paz! Tau!

Las matematicas de hoy son 'sabiduria y cultura'. Today's mathematics is wisdom culture. I wanted to add on with a article regarding environmental racism, in honor of "Earth day" and more important the history and relationship of Original people to the land and their environment. Much love to my Brother C'BS Alife for addressing this topic previous and consistently. It is something that remains 'unknown' to many of our people, let alone the masses in general. And today's degree in the Supreme Alphabet is 'X', which in the science of mathematics is a variable that stands for the 'unknown' or an unknown value. So I wanted to make the unknown known and bring the arms of the letter "X" in on this one point, or topic.

Native Americans, Blacks, and Latinos - The Effects of Environmental Racism on People of Color in the US
Nicole Iaquinto | March 25, 2008 - 4:04 pm

Since the end of state sponsored segregation in the 1954
with Brown v. Board of Education decision,
the prevailing myth of American prosperity has convinced the people that there
are no structural racial barriers to keep minorities from reaching the American
dream. Fancy cars, stately houses prestigious educations, high powered jobs,
and a life of material wealth is available to all who work hard enough to
achieve it. According to this mindset, it is thought that all individuals have
the freedom of social mobility. These individuals, despite race or class, are
believed to have the ability to live anywhere they please, working their way up
from low income areas to the suburbs if they so desire. In light of this claim,
I feel it is my responsibility to challenge this potentially dangerous
ideology. This misleading argument discourages the claim that people's living
situations are affected by the state in any way. It is in this sense that the
claim is dangerous, considering that it is widely accepted by the majority of
the population of the United
States, but the facts simply do not line up
with the reality of the situation. The reoccurring pattern of waste facilities
and toxic dumping areas being located near or in minority communities cannot
simply be a mere coincidence. There is a severe and obvious environmental
racism problem in the United
States, and innocent people are suffering
due to the majority of the population's refusal to recognize the problem.



The same pattern of minority suffering is seen over and over
again. Those people who are considered African Americans, Native Americans, or
Latinos are consistently counted among those who live in areas with the most
hazardous health conditions, sites to toxic waste facilities, and low income
housing projects. In the 1987 Commission for Racial Justice, it is stated that
three of the five largest waste facilities dealing with hazardous materials in
the United States
are located in poor black communities. This study also showed that three out of
every five African American and Latinos live in areas near toxic waste sites,
as well as live in areas where the levels of poverty are well above the
national average. African Americans and Latinos are not the only ones to
suffer; Native Americans also experience environmental racism in their
communities. Many Native Americans who live in communities where most people
are below poverty level face some of the worst toxic pollution problems in the
country. The 1987 Commission for Racial Justice stated that "approximately half
of all Native Americans live in communities with an uncontrolled toxic waste
site." Faced with statistics such as these, it is hard to believe that this
pattern is completely coincidental. Whether or not these instances are
completely arbitrary or consciously planned does not change the fact that an
innocent group of people are being systematically disadvantaged and being made
to suffer.



Living near toxic waste facilities and living in low income
housing has caused many disparities among the poor and minority communities.
Hazardous materials affect almost every aspect of the community's lives. The
food people eat, the water they drink, and the air they breathe are all
affected by these facilities. Homes, schools, and the workplace are deemed
unsafe because of environmental hazards in the buildings, which remain widely
under cared for and outdated. Recent studies have shown that children of color
who live in poor areas are more likely to attend schools filled with asbestos,
live in home with peeling led paint, and play in parts that are contaminated.
These same children are nearly nine times more likely than economically
advantaged children to be exposed to lead levels so high they can cause severe
learning disabilities as well as other neurological disorders. Even more
startling, 96 percent of African American children who live in inner cities
have unsafe amounts of lead in their blood. Poor and minority citizens of such
areas have little or no control over such environmental factors, nor do they
have the means to protect themselves.



It is no secret that most people who live in low income
areas in the United States
are people of color. These groups of people are vulnerable to states demands,
as they have very limited mobility, few economic resources, and are severely
underrepresented in their local and state governments to reject such unsafe
facilities coming into their community. Unlike in more affluent areas, those
living in low income areas cannot simply take off work to attend town meetings
or protest against environmental hazards like richer people may be able to do.
The vicious circle of discrimination continued further after the environmental
hazards are present in society. Children cannot attend schools due to the
unsafe conditions of the buildings or because of sicknesses caused by harmful
materials inside the schools. In turn, the community lacks an educated
citizenry. Less children end up getting a higher education which allows them to
get good jobs and move out of slums. The same goes for adults in the workplace.
Those who find themselves already disadvantaged are faced with the prospect of
only being stuck in dead end jobs. The jobs available in such areas are
dangerous to ones health and low paying. It is inconceivable to move a family
out of a low income area on wages that barely cover living expenses.



When such citizens are discriminated against by the state
for simply being born poor or of a different color other than white, it turns
into discrimination beyond belief. These people are denied the hope of
achieving the American dream of prosperity for reasons they could never
conceive to control. One cannot deny that the state, which is supposed to be
protecting citizens, is taking advantage of the poor's lack of resources to
fight such injustices as those in more economically advantaged positions would
be able to. In the "Land of the Free" should such disparities be tolerated with
little or no resistance?



The consequences of environmental racism are of the utmost
importance to consider. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people get sick
(and some die) because of things like lead poisoning, asbestos poisoning,
drinking water and eating food that has been contaminated by hazardous waste
facilities or unfit buildings. These same people suffer from an inability to
remove themselves from these dangerous situations because of a lack of mobility
caused by lack of education, lack of employment, and lack of proper political
connection. These inefficiencies are all created and strengthened by the
structures that claim the necessity of reaching for the "American Dream."



Much of the statistical information was take from:

White, Harvey L. "Race, Class, and Environmental
Hazards." Ed. David E
Camacho. Environmental
Injustices, Political Struggles: Race, Class, and the Environment. Durham & London: Duke University
Press, 1998.



Everybody is a
potential victim, but people of color are more likely to feel the effects of
environmental racism:

* Communities with a single hazardous waste facility were
found to have twice the percentage of minorities as communities were found to
have twice the percentage of minorities as communities without a facility,
while communities with two or more facilities have more than three times the
minority representation than communities without any such sites.

*Three of the five largest commercial hazardous waste
landfills in the United States, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the
total commercial landfill capacity, are located in overwhelmingly African or
Hispanic American communities.

*Children of color
who live in poor areas are more likely to attend schools filled with asbestos,
live in home with peeling led paint, and play in parts that are contaminated.
These same children are nearly nine times more likely than economically
advantaged children to be exposed to lead levels so high they can cause severe
learning disabilities as well as other neurological disorders.

* Even more startling, 96 percent of African American
children who live in inner cities have unsafe amounts of lead in their blood...

*...85 percent of African American children in cities are
estimated to have unsafe lead levels, compared to 47 percent of white children.



Check out my website
for more info on environmental racism: http://therevolutionarytimes.googlepages.com/home. If this topic
interests you, you'll find more links and resources (including a detailed
annotated bibliography) on the website to help you get started on some further
research.

1 comment:

C'BS ALife Allah said...

Peace,
The pic is 1000 words. EJ is an important element in terms of being maker and owner cause when we step that up the owner has to maintain the Earth. That's part of taking back the planet.