Anti-Racism 101

30 Environmental Racism


“In 2016, 16 year old Dayshen McKenzie died of an asthma attack after a group of White teenagers chased him down. The group had been taunting McKenzie and his Black friends with a racial slur. (…/dayshen-mckenzie-staten…) Although Dayshen’s death wasn’t the result of police violence, his fatal asthma attack can be linked to environmental justice. Asthma disproportionately affects people of color living in urban areas. Studies have highlighted the link between living in urban areas and being exposed to rat droppings, tobacco smoke exposure, and other airborne toxins. Observational studies have illuminated the link between urban areas, psychological stress, and health outcomes such as asthma. Neighborhood social cohesion and incarceration rates have also been found to increase the prevalence of asthma in individuals. So while Dayshen’s death was not directly linked to police violence, it was inextricably tied to structural issues of environmental racism. –Peter Anderson

Excellent, brief video:

African Americans face disproportionate rates of lead poisoning, asthma, and environmental harm. Pollution and the risk of disaster are assigned to black and brown communities through generations of discrimination and political neglect. The environment is a system controlled and designed by people—and people can be racist.” -Vann Newkirk

From Puerto Rico to Rosharon, Texas, many people who continue to live in underserved communities disproportionately impacted by pollution and other environmental challenges are experiencing environmental injustice as they struggle to recover from Harvey and the storms that followed. -Kendrick Sampson

Detailed information about the nation’s largest hazardous waste landfill, located in poor, largely POC-populated Emelle, Alabama:

Researchers studying the water crisis recently found a high number of fetal deaths and fewer pregnancies in Flint since April 2014, which is when the city switched its water supply to use water from the polluted Flint River without adding anti-corrosives to treat it.” –Auditi Guha