Environmental Justice: A Deadly Symptom of Larger Problems a Response to the Plenary of Dr. Beverly Wright
Journal of Healthcare, Science and the Humanities Volume III, No. 1, 2013
14 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2017
Date Written: 2013
Environmental justice describes the movement to challenge and avert the disproportionate burdening of pollution on people of color and poor and working class communities. Air pollution, water pollution, and waste disproportionately burden the most vulnerable and least protected communities of the nation. Race and class best predict where polluting facilities are located despite claims from business, government, political leaders that the race and class make up of communities does not affect environmental decision-making. Environmental justice concerns grow out of the longstanding fight for racial and economic justice in America. In light of the civil rights legislation and social welfare programs of the 1960s, contemporary America has little interest in claims of racial discrimination made by people of color or in the well being of the poor and needy. Although race and class identity continue to exert undue influence over everyday decision making throughout the society, most Americans are oblivious to the way race and class influence their thinking and practices. Viewing the world from an individualist perspective, America’s racial majority fails to recognize how their “racially neutral” policies and practices continue to perpetuate status quo racial advantages across a broad spectrum of social institutions. Likewise, the economic and social disadvantages facing poor and working class people are exacerbated and overlooked in order to increase and maintain the advantages of the wealthy and the upper middle classes.
Keywords: Environmental Justice, Class, Race, Pollution
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation