It is no surprise that the world we live in still faces many racial issues that most politicians are afraid to do anything serious about. They’ll tout that they’re doing as much as possible, but the reality is a bit different.
Time and time again, racial scandals will pop up. It will be in the news for a couple of weeks, and it will then go away as if nothing had ever happened. Racial issues don’t seem to be the driving force in keeping special interest groups happy in the grand scheme of corporate profits and campaign donations.
We have written about it before. Inner-city schools face severe problems that can affect children’s development. It’s not just now but for the rest of their lives, more often with large black populations.
New Orleans and its demographics and black population aren’t saved from these various issues. It includes a substantially higher risk of exposure to lead paint, to mention one specific example. It’s true. If the paint is undamaged, it isn’t a threat. But how many buildings built in the 1950s have you seen with entirely intact paint?
Where is the black population going?
Look at the numbers from 2000 through 2018. You will see that the African American population of New Orleans has disproportionally shrank compared to the white population. The Hispanic population has grown marginally.
You will see that 231,147 African Americans were living in the city in 2,000. The number for 2018 was 323,392. That’s a drop of 92,245 or a drop of 28.5% of all African Americans.
In the same period, white Americans went from 128,871 to 120,240. It’s a total drop of 8,631 or a meager drop of 6.7%.
Both ethnicities saw drops in their overall numbers. It is unlikely that FEMA handled Hurricane Katrina differently because of the majority African American population. Many people became homeless during the hurricane. The hurricane efforts were focused on the neighborhoods of more substantial wealth that usually have higher percentages of white people living there.
The Lower Ninth Ward is known to have a larger percentage of lower-income families living in it. It was largely forgotten in the efforts to rescue the city, and they were the last ones to have their utilities restored.
No changes and no real efforts to create affordable housing
In the wake of a catastrophe, you would imagine the city would take action to address a catastrophe that significantly affected one part of the population. That hasn’t been the case.
There have been efforts to create affordable housing. One cannot reasonably think that these efforts are proportional to the problem at hand. With their $28M in funding, the politicians will claim that they’re doing what they can to provide affordable housing. The fact is that this relatively small amount of money will provide no more than 642 units of affordable housing. It’s a very small number relative to the number of dislocated people.
It must also be said that the existing affordable housing initiatives were mainly built before the 1950s. Therefore, they have a much higher likelihood of containing lead-based paint. It has the real consequence of affecting your child’s learning possibilities.
Following Katrina, it wasn’t even like the city tried to deny the additional segregation that occurred. It is well-documented. All you’d need to do is google “NOLA segregation increases,” and you’ll come across a bunch of very scary reading.
Our mission is inherent to ensure safer practices when handling lead-based paint. We hope this article and its highlight of the disadvantaged proportion of African Americans will inspire some people to take action.
We do not claim to solve the issues. We hope to raise awareness of the disproportionate health disadvantages among the various demographics. In New Orleans, we have the African American population at an especially high risk of exposure.
We encourage you to reach out to your local politicians and your governor. Inform them about the importance of additional affordable housing and safety concerns with existing affordable housing.
We also hope you might be encouraged to share this article with others, as FEMA’s deliberate racial actions should be public knowledge!
A horrifying example of environmental racism
Have you ever heard of the term environmental racism? The exposure to lead and the resulting lead poisoning among poorer, often minority groups is an example of environmental racism.
The term gained popularity through the 1970s and 1980s. It is a term coined to explain why environmental justice often doesn’t happen. It explains why it is more likely to severely affect certain parts of the population over other parts. There are many different examples. Lead poisoning is very prevalent in the US. The concept suggests and has been proven to exist.
Even Trump’s administration and the EPA found that environmental racism is a serious force causing health consequences. The report may focus more on people of color being exposed to pollutions sources. They are experiencing significantly more polluted air from commonly living in the city where the air quality is lower. It also talks about the importance of being aware of lead poisoning effects.
In some instances, it may be that other people’s companies’ or countries’ trash is sent to places with fewer financial capabilities. The residents of those areas will inherently end up being negatively affected by the substances exposed to. Kids end up being exposed to harmful chemicals through their most important years of development.
De facto segregation
If you live in the US, it will likely come to you as no surprise that there are distinct White and Black neighborhoods. They are often with different financial capabilities and opportunities.
We may think of the overt segregation in the 1960s, and before that, the reality is that there is still de facto segregation. It means instances where no overt reason points to the segregation. Things as exposure to lead are more common in inner-city public schools. It causes a range of health issues. It is at least partly to blame for the de facto segregation that means public schools are now more segregated than they have been the last 40 years.
Why poverty is a social problem
Poverty is what keeps a lot of people trapped in toxic public housing. There is no denying that historical situations have caused the current socioeconomic situation. Blacks are generally poorer than other races, unfortunately. They continue to be the most exposed group regarding certain things, such as deteriorating paint and lead poisoning. Here at Check4Lead, we hope to be among the people spreading light on some of the issues causing these health concerns. We want to avoid anyone being of lead poisoning. Current times means different segment are disproportionately exposed compared to the rest of the population.