What is Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism? Environmental racism describes the disproportionate effects of pollution, toxicity, and other environmental harms on racial minorities (and often lower classes) while environmental justice is the name of the social movement that emerged in response to this problem.
Landmark 1987 report: “Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States”; follow-up study done in 2007: Neighborhoods with hazardous waste facilities clustered close together have populations with 70% people of color. Government and industry slower to respond to environmental disasters in the Third World and in economically disadvantaged regions in US.
Emerged in the 1980s, out of earlier Civil Rights Movements of the 60s, and anti-toxics campaigns Explores how environmental issues intersect with social justice issues of race, gender, and socio-economic class Why are women, people of color, and the poor more often exposed to environmental hazards? Often critical of the white, male, upper-class, first-world bias of traditional environmental movements Environmental Justice
What is Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism? Environmental justice is a political/activist movement, a field of social sciences research, but also a growing field within the environmental humanities and environmental literature. Reading literature (narrative, metaphor, genre, images, etc.) can help us see the roots of environmental racism in ways that looking at statistics or other research cannot.
Mexican-American, raised in East Los Angeles Influenced by Chicano Rights Movement of 1960s Trained as a fiction writer at UC Irvine, now an English professor at Cornell
Helena María Viramontes The Moths and Other Stories (1985), story collection Under the Feet of Jesus (1995), a novel Their Dogs Came with Them (2007), most recent novel
Helena María Viramontes In the tradition of both muckraking and social realist U.S. literature …. Stowe, Sinclair, Steinbeck, Carson, Viramontes In the tradition of Chicana/o literature.
Helena María Viramontes “All serious writers have the responsibility to try and disrupt patterns of thought and behavior that damage the integrity of life. That’s why most writers do their best work while living on the fringes of a society. We can have a better view from there.”