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Analysis of Environmental Racism in America


Despite the decades-long struggle against racism, its effects are still tragically visible in present-day American society. Moreover, racism seeps into every area, from social interactions to business to environmental concerns. Affecting the well-being of African American people on a tremendous scale, the latter represents a particularly egregious instance of racism, and the case of the Warren County PCB Landfill is a graphic example of that (Bullard, 2017). Although racism still permeates American society, several steps including a change in how the needs of African American community members are met can be used to eventually eradicate environmental racism from the U.S. community.

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When Did It Begin and What Is Its History?

When considering the issue under analysis, one might want to pose several questions the answers to which will lead to discovering deeper underlying social and political concerns within the American community. Specifically, the question of what the history of the Warren County PCB Landfill is should be regarded as the first step toward embracing the effects of environmental racism on the U.S. community. According to the available records, the Warren County PCB Landfill was created by the North Carolina officials in order to manage the toxic waste produced as a result of a PCB catastrophe caused by PCB’s illegal activities (Bullard, 2017).

Who Is Affected by Environmental Racism and How Are They Affected?

Next, the question of who was affected by the actions taken by the PCB Company should be voiced. Namely, apart from committing a crime by covering the incident instead of taking PCB and its members to court, the North Carolina authorities aggravated the issue by selecting the location of the landfill next to the community of which the majority was represented by African American residents (Bullard, 2017). Moreover, the community in question was facing significant financial struggles at the time, which implied that the residents were affected not only by their minority status but also by their poverty (Bullard, 2017). Thus, posing an immediate risk to African American citizens of Warren County, the specified act was a lar example of environmental racism.

What Are the Impacts on the Community?

In addition, the question of how the community in question was affected by the actions of PBC must be asked. Specifically, the existing records show that the Warren County PCB Landfill case involved the contamination of the land by 31,000 gallons of transformer oil (Bullard, 2017). Therefore, given the effects of the substance in question, the threat of neurotoxicity increased exponentially after the catastrophe had taken place (Bullard, 2017). Since the target population was facing severe impediments to accessing healthcare due to the lack of financial resources and the presence of racial discrimination, the case in question represented a tremendous threat to the Warren County residents.

How Does Environmental Racism Affect Local Communities?

Furthermore, one might want to consider the effects of environmental racism in U.S. communities, in general. Based on the outcomes of the Warren County incident, one could assume that the instances of environmental racism are mostly left unaccounted for when taking place in impoverished, racially segregated, or otherwise disadvantaged communities.

What Are Some Communities Doing to Address the Problem?

Finally, the issue of managing the problem of environmental racism might be discussed. Although the phenomenon of racism is extraordinarily difficult to fight, African American communities are struggling to have their rights recognized. In some communities, protests against unlawful actions against ethnic and racial minorities take place. Others seek to file lawsuits against the offending party (Bullard, 2017). However, since the latter route is typically quite expensive, the former is usually chosen as the most effective form of protest.


Despite the presence of environmental racism in the modern American community, it can be handled by approaching the needs of the target demographic empathetically and considering the human life as a concept the highest priority when handling environmental issues. Particularly, when managing toxic waste, options such as the use of areas that are remote from any residential areas.

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Bullard, R. D. (2018). Dumping in Dixie: Race, class, and environmental quality (3rd ed.). Routledge.

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