The histories of slavery and segregation have not only left distinctions between the economic and social realities of people of different races in the United States, but have literally shaped the geography and environments we live in. Racial identities of different communities and geographies are as obvious as any other physical attributes of the community. Not only to they shape the character and culture of communities, but continued geographic segregation has resulted in health crises and facilitated mass incarceration, particularly in Black communities.
In this episode of CRT2 (Critical Race Theory / Columbia Race Talks) features two interviews: one with Stephanie Cooper, Vice President of Rise St. James, an environmental justice activist group based in the infamous Cancer Alley region of Louisiana; the other with Flores Forbes, writer, urban planner in New York City for decades, and is currently an associate vice president in the Office of Government and Community Affairs, Columbia University. They both discuss their experiences with environmental racism, modern day segregation, and efforts by police and other authorities to intimidate and even incarcerate Black community-members.
We will also cover how the commonsense and historical understandings of the racial identity of place are not recognized in the law. The color-blind constitution allows governments and decisionmakers to use geography and space to place society’s pollution burden on Black communities.
Environmental Policy | Environmental Public Health | Law and Race | Place and Environment | Race and Ethnicity | Social Justice
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Alexander, David; Cooper, Stephanie; Forbes, Flores; Geddings, Keith; McCoy, Bridget; and Turner, Eli, "CRT2 S1 Ep7: Color Lines: Geography and Racial Control" (2022). CRT2 Season 1. 9.