Racism seems to occur as a natural consequence of our senses. It’s a matter that manifests in the form of later-identifiable institutionalized racism and can be impossible to overcome should one wish to venture beyond their placement [see “environmental racism” below]. Racism, including environmental racism, can be viewed as a problem that is part of a larger one that won’t go away unless faced as a real issue that has solutions.
environmental racism – the “placement” of minority or low-income communities in proximity of degraded or hazardous environments.
Classism to Racism
To venture beyond one’s class– the possibility of doing so– has been a hallmark of the purported American dream. In today’s great awareness however, we see that the largest percentage of our masses have been negatively affected by current [global] economics. We’ve lost an entire financial class of people! Many of whom had been “proud” in having such a dream of opportunity and have since awoken to limitations of that dream, while untold more were never able to conceive it. We hadn’t gotten very far before ultimate realization smacked most of us down around 2008.
classism – unfair treatment of people because of their social or economic class
A new sentience affects our common outlook. We glimpse the economic realities that loom around the vision of our everyday calculations. Where once our system offered the semblance of a foreseeable lock on financially secure futures of workers and at least a safety net for the rest, now it’s commonly regarded as having been pretense. As a most general rule, there may be no reward for hard work after all!
Pick a Dream & Keep on Dreaming
That one would choose a life of wait-service, for example, over a more lucrative life of crime is of no tangible financial or health benefit. Instead, financial detriment has met most of these people . . . a challenge which in turn affects opportunity, restriction and punishment in society. Some would say the reward is in staying out of the American system of criminalization. Yet, we know that when people turn to crime they are often enduring times of financial uncertainty and stress.
Despite that, it seems we’re working on recreating a situation we’d recently improved, in more ways than one. As we turn back the tide of crime, we for some reason decide to also turn back the clock on human progress and begin to tear the fabric at the seams and in areas recently mended. As we begin to repair financial damage done by movers and shakers of a housing crisis on top of the outsourcing of jobs, we immediately invite damage back again by allowing the same real estate and banking tactics that did us in a decade ago. Only this time, there are more protections in place for business and I don’t begin to understand which jobs people are banking on to keep their houses this time! Many people have never recovered from the recession, and it’s common belief that they weren’t meant to do so.
While it’s difficult to accept, it’s easy to see and feel the rise of laws, fees, rents, mortgages and general cost of living amid a climate of economic recession- depression for the most common person, all of whom are enumrated (unless the system’s process has been escaped or avoided in some way) yet still ignored. It’s become clear that, for the most part, the enumerated people are placed and marginalized into sectors of ‘American experience’. (The unaccounted-for fall where they may . . . an entirely different experience.)
These sectors include business and living areas envisioned according to or in spite of proximity to production and contamination. Many people have been relegated to life virtually on top of killer environmental sites.
Classism to Environmental Contamination
People have been great at development and production, and not so great at sustainability. Instead of working to keep an entire river clean, the Uprivers benefit from the freshest rain and runoff while they contaminate the Downrivers and charge them for a cleaner product. The Upstreams refuse to clean up their own mess that is collected by the Downstreams, and they price entire towns out of the best areas of tax-paying residents’ own turf.
We could have dealt with all that in the kind of system we’re supposed to have built. Instead, we have allowed the system to be changed against the interests of the common person . . . the worker . . . the voter.
As racism is a facet of classism, environmental racism is a facet of environmental injustice- a discrimination against the poor or weak that has existed over centuries of economic marginalization and social exclusion.
Corporatism to Environmental Injustice
The justice system was built to protect, but some would say it’s turned into a greedy maw to be avoided in a system that doesn’t offer much education about the nuances of criminality. While there are basic tenets that might be easy to follow, law today is a complicated morass for most- a morass of possibility for a criminalizing system that financially feeds on the lives of those it ensnares. Every undertaking today is law-bound; without education in law one would be in deficit practically by any momentum. The richer have serious advantage while the educated have the best advantage. Who receives the best education?
According to global and technological scales of corporate opportunity for land use and simultaneous tax evasion, there is no need to work within a progressive social system established by the people of a nation.With no such commitment, it’s easy to see where today’s regressive politics are coddled.
Classism to Economic Discrimination
Workers have awoken from the dream and are (for now) still blessed with foggy memories of a promise that feels broken. As restructuring events occur, change is ominous and as development of this new world occurs we should hold strong to the original dream . . . that everyone should benefit from the system. Otherwise, why have a system. That’s a logical question . . . but shouldn’t be considered without careful contemplation of the fabric that has lent to the support of a dream for so long.
We must stop denying the advances that have been made and accept them; for example, social progress, environmental awareness, technological progress including artificial intelligence, etc. As beings capable of hindsight and conscious action with various levels of free will, we must remember that our descendants- blood or not- will inherit what we leave behind. How will we ensure that economic discrimination based on typing won’t continue to be a problem of existence?
A View The World Over
The capacity of a larger view makes environmental racism a basic and visible form of marginalization. Race has been a kind of qualifier for the long-term affects that occur in economic marginalization. We can also see farther back that class and type discord have existed for most of time.
We have the broad knowledge, but continue to see decline in attitude and infrastructure. Political figures chosen for us flirt with ideas of huge walls and religious testing. The people put up with resistance to progress while favoring an idea that we should be losing as a nation because somehow we deserve to lose. What?!
We deserve environmental justice and we owe it to ourselves to regain a functioning democracy. Amending issues like this are the steps we need to take in a stance against racism, classism and other forms of discrimination that marginalize our fellow man and woman. The vision still exists as long as there is expectation among people.
And why shouldn’t there be expectation, for it is a form of faith and another hallmark of our great nation. Everyone gets to have their version of faith or belief and, while it’s not acceptable to foist it on others, it is expected that at least we are capable of determining our individual experience. For only in such freedom may we find our best place in life . . . a success which benefits all those around us and for which should be striven.
Wikipedia contributors. “Environmental racism.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Mar. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:CiteThisPage&page=Environmental_racism&id=708874267
Discrimination image via http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/highlighted/d/discrimination.html