Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Environmental Racism
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    Discuss real-world instances of environmental racism


    OER Text Material

    Demography and Population

    In the subsection, environmental racism refers to the way in which minority group neighborhoods (populated primarily by people of color and members of low socioeconomic groups) are burdened with a disproportionate number of hazards, including toxic waste facilities, garbage dumps, and other sources of environmental pollution and foul odors that lower the quality of life. Thus, around the globe, members of minority groups bear a greater burden of the health problems that result from higher exposure to waste and pollution. Examples of minorities who experience environmental racism are given.

    Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

    The Stream - Colour of Pollution: Environmental Racism (Video)

    According to this document, if you’re black, Asian or Latino in the United States, you’re more likely to breath polluted air than if you’re white. And if you’re white but poor, the likelihood of being exposed to industrial pollution is higher, too. The federal agency monitoring these issues is crafting a new environmental justice plan, but critics say it fails to protect vulnerable communities from toxins trapping them in poverty and poor health.

    Cancer Alley, Louisiana – Victims of Environmental Racism (Video)

    This video was shot at a town in Louisiana which the inhabitants have labelled as Cancer Alley or the Chemical Corridor. In this town, petrochemical facilities are located near human dwellings. These chemical facilities have been given exceptions from the clean water and air acts. There is constant smell of hydrogen sulphur that makes the people sick and eventually die of cancer but it seems nobody cares because the affected people are lower class.

    Environmental Racism Has Left Black Americans Three Times More Likely to Die from Pollution

    The article deals with environmental racism and how communities of color, specifically black communities, are exposed to higher than normal levels of environmental pollution. African American communities are more likely to have landfills, industrial plants and other hazardous waste sites sited near their neighborhoods which tend to have negative and serious health outcomes. The Deep South is littered with African American communities located near refineries and industrial facilities. Such communities experience elevated cancer cases. The loss of wetlands contributes to environmental degradation. The reason why such environmental racism continues is because people in power (politicians), industrialists and even big green movements tend to ignore communities of color who suffer the brunt of climate change and environmental pollution.

    5 Things to Know About Communities of Color and Environmental Justice

    Jasmine Bell traces certain problems within low-income and communities of color to environmental racism. Using the water contamination incident from Flint, Michigan, Bell argues that communities of color are disproportionally plagued with problems of air pollution, landfills and hazardous waste sites, lead poisoning, water contamination, etc. and argues that policymakers look on as environmental racism threaten the health of communities of color. The environmental justice movement seeks to rectify this problem through laws, regulations and policies.