Environmental Racism Essay

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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 color. Environmental justice is dependent on rethinking our environmental policies, and ethical environmental practices.
There are many political and public health issues in which environmental racism is a contributing factor. To achieve social and environmental justice, it is vital to look beyond simple government policies. Individuals must see the ethical inequality of environmental racism and its injustices. Communities of afflicted people are both the subject and object of ethical concern and their futures seems to be tied to the whims of governing bodies that make choices not in “their” favor (ethically, financially, and environmentally). Environmental racism is a key contributing factor to many human and non-human health issues nationwide, and worldwide. In many primarily minority communities, the neighborhoods have become the literal dumping grounds for household garbage, hazardous wastes, and other sources of toxins. Research has shown that people of color are more likely to reside in are...

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...R.D. (2005). The Quest of Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books.
Desjardins, J.R. (2013). Environmental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Dickinson, E. (2012). Addressing Environmental Racism Through Storytelling: Toward an Environmental Justice Narrative Framework. Communication, Culture, and Critique, 5.
Van Wensveen, L. (2000). Dirty Virtues: The Emergence of Ecological Virtue Ethics. Amherst, NY: Humanity Books.
Wenz, P.S. (1995) Just Garbage: The Problem of Environmental Racism. In Pojman, L.P. (Eds.) Environmental Ethics: Reading in Theory and Applications. (4th ed.) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
Williams, D.R. & Mohamad, S.A. (2013) Racism and Health I: Pathways and Scientific Evidence. American Behavioral Scientist, 57.

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