Housing and Environmental Discrimination

The spacial and social construction of the urban city, the suburban utopia, the ghetto, the barrio, or racialized/ethnic enclaves are not communities formed without intent or reason, but rather strategically planned. In the United States, practices such as red-lining, restrictive covenants in real estate, and blockbusting have been used to divide up the environment and housing along discriminatory, classist, racialized lines, leading to the poor, people of color, religious and ethnic minority groups being placed in sub-par, dangerous and toxic environments that are degraded by industrial pollution and waste, urban decay, toxic waste, and food deserts.

Environmental Racism in the Works

The Weave is an organization that works to "contribute to positive social change and the cultivation of an informed citizenry by providing critical perspectives on important stories, voices, and processes that are not receiving sufficient public attention". The organization has constructed a series of videos and accompanying information regarding the issue of environmental racism and the consequences it has on affected communities


Academic Articles 

"The Sociology of Discrimination- Racial Discrimination in Employment, Housing, Credit, and Consumer Markets," a study by Devah Pager and Hana Shepard

Pager and Shepard, using statistical data and social experiments, show the reader the prevalence of racial discrimination in housing, employment, credit markets, and customer interaction and how these findings influence and affect the individual, organizational and institutional conceptions of discrimination. They systematically deconstruct all the data and present well crafted argument that presents, "relevant literature on racial discrimination, providing a roadmap for scholars who wish to build on this rich and important tradition."

"Making Space, Making Race: Reconstituting White Privilege in Buckhead, Atlanta"

"The comfortable relationship between the overwhelmingly white, southern Atlanta neighborhood of Buckhead and a major hub of nightlife in the region unraveled in the early 2000s as the entire nightclub cluster was delegitimized, discursively constructed as dangerous and out of control, and ultimately razed to make space for luxury shopping. This paper sets out to query what social and cultural relations account for this massive and unpredicted reconfiguration of urban space in the epicenter of wealth, whiteness, and power in Atlanta. By mobilizing the concept of the socio-spatial dialectic, we draw on Pulido's work on the construction and perpetuation of white privilege to argue that the racialized production of space is a relevant framework for understanding the processes at work in Buckhead. We argue that race was an unstated but deeply important social relation shaping the process by which this particular space was remade. In so doing, we seek to advance the literature on whiteness by demonstrating the ways in which it articulates with the political economy of cities in the present conjuncture" - Routledge

"Legal Cynicism and (Subcultural?) Tolerance of Deviance: The Neighborhood Context of Racial Differences"

"We advance here a neighborhood-level perspective on racial differences in legal cynicism, dissatisfaction with polite, and the tolerance of various forms of deviance. Our basic premise is that structural characteristics of neighbor- hoods explain variations in normative orientations about law, criminal justice, and deviance that are often confounded with the demographic characteristics of individuals. Using a multilevel approach that permits the decomposition of variance within and between neighborhoods, we tested hypotheses on a recently completed study of 8,782 residents of, 343 neighborhoods in Chicago. Contrary to received wisdom, we find that African Americans and Latinos are less tolerant of deviance-including violence-than whites. At the same time, neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage display elevated levels of legal cynicism, dissatisfaction with police, and tolerance of deviance unaccounted for by sociodemographic composition and crime-rate differences. Concentrated disadvantage also helps explain why African Americans are more cynical about law and dissatisfied with the police. Neighborhood context is thus important for resolving the seeming paradox that estrangement from legal norms and agencies of, criminal justice, especially by blacks, is compatible with the personal condemnation of deviance" - Wiley-Blackwell

Popular Press

The Racist Roots Of Flint's Water Crisis

"Since April 2014, residents of Flint, a city that is almost 57 percent black and incredibly poor, have been drinking and bathing in water that contains enough lead to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of "toxic waste.” 

No single person shoulders the blame for this situation, but thanks to widespread mismanagement a largely black and brown community now faces the disproportionate effects of systemic neglect. And to many, Flint’s water crisis fits into a historical trend of environmental racism in the U.S., which for decades has allowed polluters to prey on communities of color, in part because of weak environmental regulations."