D. Environmental Racism

"Race and ethnicity, not simply differences in income, are the key indicators of whether a community is adversely affected by environmental hazards. At all income levels, African American children have higher lead contamination levels in their blood than white children," according to the National Black Economic and Environmental Justice Coordinating Committee. 20

"Wimberley; Ronald C. and Libby V. Morris, 1997, The Southem Black Belt A National Perspective, Lexington, Kentucky; WA Rural Studies. "These figures are gross underestimates as unemployment statistics often do not count people in prisons and jails, federal aid recipients, farm workers and those in the informal economy.

"Population Reference Bureau, 2000.


"On April 24,2000,16-year-old Antonio Reyes-Garcia, a Mexican construction worker, plunged to his death while working on a college dormitory building site in AJabama. The 16-year-old should have been wearing a safety harness according to government Investigators. Alabamas Child Labor Inspector said Reyes employer tried to evade responsibility when first questioned about the accident. ""Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the United States," pg. 93.

Environmental racism is another form of discrimination. Recent government studies have shown that nationally there are more hazardous and toxic waste facilities, landfills, chemical plants and other polluting industries close to communities of color causing elevated rates of cancer, lead poisoning, asthma, birth defects and other serious health problems.2

With this correlation, it should come as no surprise that government and industry have used the South as a national dumping ground. The five most hazardous waste landfills nationwide are in the South, according to Glenn Johnson, an expert on environmental racism Johnson said Alabama is number one in the nation in terms of the largest and most toxic landfill.

The Southern state of Louisiana has become known as the "cancer alley" of the United States. Cancer alley refers to an area of the state where 138 petrochemical and other industries are clustered around predominantly African American communities. The National Black Economic and Environmental Justice Coordinating Committee reports that contamination from these industries have established Louisiana as one of the most polluted states in the country with nearly 200 million pounds of toxic chemicals released in 1998.22


7A11 of these incidents were reported by the press with the exception of the harassment of Salvadorans in Mobile. This last incident was reported to CDR by the Catholic Church.


'From "Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the United States," pg. 141.

3. 'Intelligence Report, Winter, 1999. At one time the most prominent member of this group was Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi.