Thursday, February 6th 8:00PM Eastern/ 5:00PM Pacific
The Context of White Supremacy hosts our fifth study session on Harriet A. Washington’s A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind. Washington is a science writer, editor and ethicist who’s held prestigious positions at the most elite academies across the globe. Her debut work, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, is one of Gus’s all time favorites and is widely hailed as a depressing and immaculate historical record of White medical terrorism against black people. A Terrible Thing to Waste explores the impact of environmental Racism – the deliberate poisoning of areas that will disproportionately and adversely impact non-white people. Many of the toxic impacts of this pollution are unknown to the victims and can have lifelong debilitating impacts on quality of life and brain functioning. During last week’s session, Washington continues to stockpile silos of evidence that Whites often knowingly place black people in areas that are bulging with toxins and harmful chemicals. She continues to emphasize how these poisons impact children – whose bodies and brains are still developing. Toxins like lead can have a substantially more harmful impact if the child is exposed during key developmental periods. In some instances, like Fort Myers, Florida, Whites dumped industrial waste and arsenic in area where large numbers of black people would be encouraged to live. There was not so much as a cardboard sign erected to suggest the dangerous hazards of the area. Washington has consistently stressed that this is not a problem of poverty because poor Whites are not poisoned in the same manner as black people. “A study of the 171 largest cities in the United States concluded that there is not even one city where whites live under equal conditions with blacks.”
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