Title

Assessments of Environmental Injustice among Black Americans

Abstract

The greater exposure of communities of color and poor communities to environmental harms compared with white and middle-class neighborhoods constitutes "environmental injustice." Here, we examine how environmental attitudes and experiences with discrimination, as well as environmental and racial identities, affect environmental injustice assessments. Specifically, we focus on environmental injustice pertaining to actual distributions of environmental harms among low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color (distributive environmental injustice), and prescriptions regarding fair decision-making procedures underlying the distribution of environmental burdens in communities (procedural environmental justice). Our data stem from a survey of black people living in the United States. Seemingly unrelated regression analyses indicate that environmental attitudes influence assessments of injustice regarding the distribution of environmental harms in disadvantaged neighborhoods and prescriptions regarding just decision-making procedures about distributing such harms. And while experiences with discrimination only affect assessments of distributive environmental injustice, black identity strongly predicts both forms of justice related to the environment (even controlling on environmental identity, which only affects procedural environmental justice prescriptions). Our discussion focuses on the profound impact of black identity on shaping meanings of environmental justice even for those unaffected by such harms.

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Publication Date

2-1-2021

Publication Title

Social Currents

Department

Sociology

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1177/2329496520950808

Keywords

Justice evaluations, Environmental justice, Racial identity, Environmental identity, Social psychology

Language

English

Format

text

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