Racism And Social Injustice Essay

1494 words - 6 pages

In the United States and internationally, there is a multitude of indicators that the racial environment is changing. Environmental pollution and racism are connected in more ways than one. The world is unconsciously aware of environmental intolerances, yet continues to expose the poor and minorities to physical hazards. Furthermore, sociologist continue to study “whether racial disparities are largely a function of socioeconomic disparities or whether other factors associated with race are also related to the distribution of environmental hazards” (Mohai and Saha 2007: 345). Many of these factors include economic positions, health disparities, social and political affairs, as well as racial inequalities.
A large number of low-income and minority families live in poor economic conditions. The economy is altered on account of multinational companies locating new facilities where land values and operation costs are low. Cheap lands are easily attained by polluting facilities because underprivileged communities are unable to effectively prevent such shortcomings. When companies locate their new facilities in these areas, property values decline and quality of life decreases (Mohai and Saha 2007: 345). Following this phenomenon is a decrease in the white and affluent populations of these areas. When property values decline, housing is made affordable, therefore, minorities and the poverty-stricken move in. This paradox commences the stages of environmental racism. Despite notable improvements in environmental inequalities, internationally, billions of people live in hazardous physical conditions. Furthermore, “These communities suffer both the physical and social consequences of housing discrimination, residential segregation, and inappropriate land use and zoning practices” (Correa Bernier 3).
Moreover, health disparities exist in the mentioned unsafe and unhealthy physical environments. Hazards and pollutants are apparent in a variety of outcomes. Possible outcomes include asthma, cancer and chemical poisoning (Gee and Payne-Sturges 2004: 1647). Furthermore, “Although debated, the main hypothesis explaining these disparities is that disadvantaged communities encounter greater exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution, pesticides, and lead” (Gee and Payne-Sturges 2004: 1647). Therefore, disadvantaged groups, such as people of color and the poor, experience greater environmental risks. Additionally, “Blacks in particular are exposed to a disproportionate amount of pollution and suffer the highest levels of lead and pesticide poisoning and other associated health problems” (Jones and Rainey 2006: 474). People of color, essentially, compete to live healthily. For example, African-Americans and Africans alike, struggle with the negative affects of oil refineries and unresponsive governments. The same can be said for Hispanics in California and the natives of Ecuador, who are forced to cope with the pollution of the Texaco oil...

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