yEarl Bogan, Jr.
December 8, 2008
FINAL DEBATE PAPER
For decades African Americans have faced struggles throughout history. Most notably, African Americans were involved in slavery, suffrage, and the civil rights movement. These struggles were very visible and everyone was aware of what was going on. However, now African Americans are involved in a struggle that it not visible and recognizable. This is a struggle that is used to capitalize on wealth and prevent African American families and individuals from living normal lives. They are involved in environmental racism. Environmental racism “refers to intentional or unintentional racial discrimination in the enforcement of environmental rules and regulations, the intentional or unintentional targeting of minority communities for the siting of polluting industries, or the exclusion of minority groups from public and private boards, commissions, and regulatory bodies.” This form of racism has been plaguing African American communities for years and most people have not taken notice. There are many form of environmental racism; however, this paper will specifically address redlining, blockbusting, racial profiling, and housing segregation and how each has impacted the African American community. Redlining is the act of refusing or increasing the cost of services such as loans, insurance, banking, and access to healthcare to citizens based upon race. The practice involves taking a map and drawing a red line through neighborhoods where banks would not invest money. Redlining was used to segregate African Americans in the housing, workforce, and school market. Parents had to find work in other areas of the city because there were not any resources available in the community. Because of redlining, schools became over crowded with 50 students crammed into one classroom. With the schools overcrowded, teachers were not able to provide special attention to the needy students and other students became uncontrollable. Cathy Cohen would argue that African Americans were being marginalized in the school system. To be considered marginalized means, to have continuously been denied access to dominant resources, barred from full participation in dominant institutions, and defined as “others, “ living outside the norm and values agreed upon by society (Cohen 1999). African American students were all forced to go to one school in the community to keep them out of the White schools. Along with marginalization, Blacks were, and still are, a part of a power struggle. Blacks were seen, and will always be seen, as an inferior race. Also, Blacks have been disempowered knowingly and unknowingly. African-Americans have been taken advantage of and used to make other races feel superior. Blockbusting was a practice used by real estate agents and developers in the United States to encourage white property owners to sell their homes by giving the impression that minority groups (such as African Americans) were moving into their previously racially segregated neighborhood. When African Americans began to move into the inner city, fear arose that they were an economic threat. Blockbusting was also the cause of many White Americans moving into the suburbs. The practice of blockbusting involved an African American purchasing a home for very cheap in a predominately White neighborhood. The real estate broker would contact the White residents and offer to buy their houses for quick cash and resell the house to an African American family for much higher. Real estate agents claimed that African Americans moving into a predominately White neighborhood would cause property values to go down and urged White homeowners to sell as soon as possible. Real estate agents indicated that the property values would go down because African Americans would not keep up their property, avoid lawn care, and if would affect the entire neighborhood. This practice...
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