Legally Poisoned Analysis

Decent Essays
Legally Poisoned: Lack of Environmental Protection in
Communities of Color in the United States

Eunyque Sykes

The rapacious desires of nations to become wealthy led to the exploitation of Africa, the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade, and ultimately the independence and development of the United States of America. Europeans who cried for religious freedom and civil liberties from a tyrannous government ironically built a nation out of greed, aggression, and imperialism. As a result, this country began to grow a stable and strong economy due to the vicious whips and chains, hangings, and unpaid labor of African men, women, and children that were stolen from their land. Slavery was practiced all throughout the American
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In 1896, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Plessy v. Ferguson which determined that Louisiana’s Jim Crow laws were constitutional, thus coining the term “separate, but equal” – de jure segregation . Justice Henry Brown of Michigan delivered the majority opinion stating that “we [Supreme Court Justices] consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff’s argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it.” Many white people failed to understand their influence on the daily livelihood of blacks, and thought that blacks created their own poor conditions – yet continued to oppress them. White ignorance furthered the development of unhealthy predominantly black neighborhoods. As shown on Appendix 1, “The average isolation index was now 39 in neighborhoods, indicating that most Black residents in the cities under study lived in a ward that was almost 40 percent Black. In some cities, the degree of racial isolation reached truly extreme levels. The transformation was most dramatic in Chicago, where the isolation index went from 10 in 1900 to 70 in 1930, by which time, moreover, the dissimilarity index had reached…show more content…
The growth of consumerism benefited those white Americans who focused on the immediate future. However, some people began to realize that the Earth will not always have the same resources it would have if they continued to treat the planet carelessly. In 1962, Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring” to address the harsh and consistent use of chemical pesticides like DDT: “We are accustomed to look for the gross and immediate effects and to ignore all else. Unless this appears promptly and in such obvious form that it cannot be ignored, we deny the existence of hazard. Even research men suffer from the handicap of inadequate methods of detecting the beginnings of injury. The lack of sufficiently delicate methods to detect injury before symptoms appear is one of the great unsolved problems in medicine.” This book caused a lot of controversy because of the lack of perceived science and knowledge of the general public, therefore, further research continued and sparked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. In addition, Paul R. Ehrlich's The Population Bomb created concern about the projection of the planet’s resources due to overpopulation. Whites were disconnected from the possibility of a negative and toxic environment because their neighborhoods and livelihood were never directly affected, however, the threat of a possible
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