Environmental Racism In Flint, Michig Case Study

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As most of America is aware of by now, there is a grave injustice happening in Flint, Michigan. The city’s drinking water is heavily contaminated with lead and has been since 2014. The problem began when the city of Flint switched to using the Flint River as a source of drinking water. A month after the switch was made, residents began to “complain about the smell and color of the new water, which [was] 70 percent harder than its previous water source” (Kennedy, 2016). Despite the complaints, no action was taken. It is important that as much light as possible is shed on this issue because not only is it a health issue, it is also a racist issue, environmental racism to be exact. Environmental racism “refers to the disproportionate exposure …show more content…
What makes the situation all the more unfortunate is that the emergency manager who agreed with the switch, Darnell Earley, is black. This simply goes to show that environmental racism is a complicated issue and not a straightforward type of racism the United States has familiarity with. Despite the water surpassing levels that the federal government set, city officials continued to brush the problem off as not a top priority. When confronted on whether or not the demographic makeup and socioeconomic status most residents hold in Flint played a factor in how the state’s government responded, the governor’s spokesperson instead decided to focus on how Governor Snyder has assisted Detroit, which is 83% black. However, the original question was never answered. Dan Kildee, Democratic representative of Flint, stated that the state’s government “treated it like it was a public-relations problem not a public problem for the people in Flint.” It is disappointing that our country is supposed to be the world’s “greatest nation”, yet in places like Flint, Michigan the local government doesn’t have a problem idly standing by while it’s residents are literally …show more content…
The water crisis in Flint, Michigan served as an example of what can happen to any city’s residents if they allow their government to think they can get away with taking shortcuts. Poor communities across America must be vigilant of environmental racism. In “Racism in the Air You Breathe: When Where You Live Determines How Fast You Die”, author Charles D. Ellison conveys that “If you could maintain a daily graphic of deaths caused by environmental racism, you’d end up finding far more black people dying from pollution than from racist cops”. This illustrates that ending environmental racism could be just as big a campaign as the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement currently going on in the United States if it had more light shed on it. From a personal standpoint, when I was reading about environmental racism, I was reminded of how my community is located next to the industrial part of my city, and how there are quite a few factories relatively close to my own home. I know many people from where I live who have asthma and I myself always had asthma-like symptoms up until a few years ago. Whether or not the quality of air plays a part in that I personally cannot say for sure however I do find it interesting that none of my friends from wealthier parts of town have asthma or any other breathing-related

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