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Cole and Sheila R. Foster in their article “From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement”, environmental hazards are not distributed equally amongst the societies. Race and income play major role in unequal…
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Response to Environmental Racism According to Luke W. Cole and Sheila R. Foster in their article “From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement”, environmental hazards are not distributed equally amongst the societies. Race and income play major role in unequal distribution of the environmental pollution and hazards due to uneven scattering of the waste sites (Cole & Sheila 54-62). Large number of uncontrolled waste sites was located around the non-white residents especially the African Americans.
The article further explains that even the enforcement of the environmental laws amongst the races differs. The white race is protected from pollution and other environmental problems more than any other race particularly on issues such as siting the waste facilities and degree of penalties. The government’s style of cleaning up waste also favored only the white people since they were given priority. It is unfortunate to note that even the administration which should protect its people also discriminated them against race (Cole & Sheila 58-65).
According to the authors, some of the reasons attributed to unequal distribution of environmental risks are the current social practices and structures. The article reveals that the individual lifestyle is one of the causes of environmental risks. The minority groups are said to be residing around areas where there are high environmental exposures such as where there are contaminated fish and heavy industries (Cole & Sheila 64-69). I agree with the authors that a good number of minority groups is poor thus forcing them to reside in poor urban areas. The poverty nature of the minority groups also deters them from accessing better medical facilities. However, the government should put measures to avoid such kind of unequal distribution of environmental risks such as offering better housing, employment and health care to all (Cole & Sheila 63-72).
Some of the intentions or conducts by the government such as discrimination are based on racism although the judiciary may want further evidence on this. It may be hard to prove racism in the court but the fact that environmental risks are common amongst minority group is enough evidence. The article claims that perhaps the challenge of environmental exposure may be influenced by unequal distribution of the siting process (Westra & Bill 95-105). According to the authors, the minority groups segregated themselves in places that made the government to marginalize them and pay less attention to them. This was also contributed by historical injustices done to the blacks. However, there must have been other forces that made discrimination even worse. The citing facilities were put around the minority group because they were less densely populated and their residential proximity to the transport routes (Cole & Sheila 69-74).
Although the exposure of the minority groups to environmental risks may not be considered as racism, the inadequate action taken by the authority and weak rules set may justify racism. The social welfare of the individuals should be highly regarded by the authority regardless of the races or ethnicity of the individuals. The government should take stern action when dealing with sensitive issues such as the environmental issues without any discrimination (Westra & Bill 95-105. Exposing the citizens into environmental risks simply because they are from a different race should not be even an issue that would require any discussion. The authors were actually right to relate almost every action and cause of environmental exposure by the minority group to racism.
Works Cited
Cole, Luke W, and Sheila R. Foster. From the Ground up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement. New York [u.a.: New York Univ. Press, 2001. Print.
Westra, Laura, and Bill E. Lawson. Faces of Environmental Racism: Confronting Issues of Global Justice. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2001. Print. Read More
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