Environmental Racism : A Subtle Prejudice Essay

Environmental Racism : A Subtle Prejudice Essay

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Environmental Racism: A Subtle Prejudice
Racism is commonly thought of as an act that is synonymous with violence; however, one common form of racism, environmental racism, often takes place without people being aware the events are happening before detrimental activities have been put into action. In Melissa Checker’s book Polluted Promises, she relates that Reverend Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. coined the term environmental racism while stating that there is “deliberate targeting of communities of color for toxic waste disposal and the siting of polluting industries” (Checker 14). This problem is important to discuss, as many groups of people around the United States continue to be impacted by these events every day. Such people include the people mentioned in Checker’s book from Hyde Park whom were devastated by toxins contaminating their environment and the Vietnamese group mentioned in the film “A Village Called Versailles”, who live in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and fought a landfill being built locally. Despite these people being from very diverse communities and undergoing completely different circumstances, both groups fought for their homes with the aid of environmental activists such as Bill McCracken, Harry James, Joel Waltzer. People such as these, allow those outside the effected areas to understand environmental racism is an important issue that everyone needs to be knowledgeable of and one that should be abolished.
Many people today, are concerned with the state of the environment that surrounds them; however, these people often do not consider the demographic of the place in which these environmental injustices are occurring. Such ignorance can be seen with the environmental contamination that conti...


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...thout payment (Wilson). People such as these are important factors in the growth of the world in the understanding of what environmental racism is and what measures should be taken to prohibit the continuation of this inequality.
Although many efforts to put an end to racism have been made in the past and are continuing to be made in the present, this act of discrimination continues to be a prominent occurrence of society. As can be seen with the residents of Hyde Park and Versailles mentioned above, people of minorities are often regarded as lesser beings and unable to understand the circumstances around them because they are unfortunately deemed as uneducated and ignorant. However, with the help of others who are dedicated to obtaining justice for people involved in situations such as these, hopefully environmental racism will one day be an idea of the past.

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