Essay on Environmental Racism

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When one discusses acts of racism, slander or the stereotyping of a group of people may come to mind. However, the concept of environmental racism is rarely considered. This form of racism positions dominant environmental framing as racially driven, in which people of color (i.e. minorities) are affected disproportionately by poor environmental practices. Communities of color throughout the United States have become the dumping grounds for our nation’s waste disposal, as well as home to agricultural and/or manufacturing industries that pollute the land. Government regulations and cultural practices have all contributed to environmental racism. The government’s policies have also negatively impacted low income groups as well as people of…show more content…
Historically, “ideas of Black inferiority and White superiority have been embedded in multiple aspects of American culture, and many images and ideas in contemporary popular culture continue to devalue, marginalize, and subordinate non-White racial populations”. Racism has influenced decades of land use, housing patterns, and infrastructure development. With the creation of housing subdivisions, the white and wealthy moved to modern communities, while the non-white and poor were left to live in areas that were rundown. Today, we see that in some cases, zoning laws have fueled environmental, as well as residential, racism. In certain communities around the nation, “expulsive” zoning has pushed out residents, and allowed industries to move into communities, and pollute the land, air, and water. These zoning laws define land for residential, commercial, or industrial uses, and impose narrower land-use restrictions. In this case certain individuals are forced to leave their community, and give any property they have up to these “dirty” industries. Without more stringent enforcement mechanisms and penalties in place, this nation will continue to see this type of discrimination and environmental racism. Certain environmental justice frameworks attempt to turn the dominant environmental paradigm on its head and seek to prevent environmental threats before they occur. This paradigm is known as the Precautionary

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