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Book cover: Research in Social Problems and Public Policy

Research in Social Problems and Public Policy

ISSN: 0196-1152
Series editor(s): Professor Ted I. K. Youn.

Subject Area: Sociology and Public Policy

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Equity, unnatural man-made disasters, and race: why environmental justice matters


Document Information:
Title:Equity, unnatural man-made disasters, and race: why environmental justice matters
Author(s):Robert D. Bullard
Volume:15 Editor(s): Robert C. Wilkinson, William R. Freudenburg ISBN: 978-0-7623-1417-1 eISBN: 978-1-84950-488-1
Citation:Robert D. Bullard (2007), Equity, unnatural man-made disasters, and race: why environmental justice matters, in Robert C. Wilkinson, William R. Freudenburg (ed.) Equity and the Environment (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Volume 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.51-85
DOI:10.1016/S0196-1152(07)15002-X (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item
Abstract:This chapter chronicles some of the early years of the author growing up in the racially segregated South Alabama and its influence on his thinking about race, environment, social equity, and government responsibility and his journey to becoming an environmental sociologist, scholar, and activist. Using an environmental justice paradigm, he uncovers the underlying assumptions that contribute to and produce unequal protection. The environmental justice paradigm provides a useful framework for examining and explaining the spatial relation between the health of marginalized populations and their built and natural environment, and government response to natural and man-made disasters in African American communities. Clearly, people of color communities have borne a disproportionate burden and have received differential treatment from government in its response to health threats such as childhood lead poisoning, toxic waste and contamination, industrial accidents, hurricanes, floods and related weather-related disasters, and a host of other man-made disasters. The chapter brings to the surface the ethical and political questions of “who gets what, why, and how much” and why some communities get left behind before and after disasters strike.

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