Examining Environmental Racism: How Trump's Blatant Disregard For Climate Change Affects People Of Color

During the campaign, Trump infamously asked Black people in America, “What do you have to lose?” Today, the answer is the collective health and economic growth of our communities.

Symone D. Sanders Jun, 02, 2017

Yesterday, Donald Trump dealt another blow in what seems like his war on people of color in America, when he announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

Communities of color face some of the worst environmental devastation in the country. While the crisis in Flint and Hurricane Katrina are two widely known examples of the effects of climate change on our communities, there are countless examples that often go unnoticed.

Black children are five times more likely than White children to have lead poisoning, truck depots are often located in urban communities of color and people of color breathe 46 percent more nitrogen dioxide (which contributes to respiratory diseases and heart conditions) than White people.

This explains why one in six African-American children have asthma.

However, the Paris Climate Accord established a global consensus to reduce carbon pollution and set the world on a low-carbon course. It is referenced as a global agreement to do something about the devastating effects of climate change – which are real and alarming. To be clear, I, like many political analysts, have acknowledged that the agreement was not perfect; I would argue it was not nearly as bold as it needed to be. But it was a global commitment to do something to save our planet and subsequently, communities of color in America.

The Trump Administration will attempt to sell you the dishonest falsehood that the United States will leave the Paris Accords to “put America first,” but Trump’s “America first” policies always seems like code for Black and Brown people last. Donald Trump was clear in that withdrawing from the climate accords, he was fulfilling a campaign promise to his base and therefore, not doing what is best for most Americans. Donald Trump believes climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese. He further solidified his dangerous philosophy on the issue by nominating a climate denier to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Most importantly he proves that he cannot be trusted to protect the communities hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change.

During the campaign, Trump infamously asked Black people in America, “What do you have to lose?” Today, the answer is the collective health and economic growth of our communities. When the Tweeter-in-Chief abdicates the United States’ global leadership on climate change, he is affirming that the environmental racism in which local governments, state governments and companies traffic daily is acceptable and will not be challenged. He is abdicating America’s ability to lead in job creation, clean energy, technology development and implementation and domestic manufacturing. He is telling the people of Flint their lives do not matter and that brown water is the new normal.

There are global implications for the Trump Administration’s blatant ignorance where climate change is concerned, but we do not have to look too far outside of our own communities to see the threat. Daily, people of color from Clarksdale, Mississippi to Seattle, Washington are experiencing an assault on their health and environment, in their schools, neighborhoods, parks and work places.

Basically, Donald Trump never loved us, but his proverbial war on communities of color does not have to go unchecked.  

Symone D. Sanders is a Strategist for Priorities USA, a CNN Political Commentator and the former National Press Secretary for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. You can follow her on Twitter @SymoneDSanders

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It's Christina Coleman with Essence.com, and this is the Over Explainer. This week, the Trump administration released a questionable budget. It proposes an increase in military defense at the cost of some necessary programs to keep the same Americans he claims to protect, fed, clothed, and educated. People like coalminers in West Virginia Low-income families and other great Americans who supported him. [SOUND] So essentially what's she's that Trump doesn't care about you, you wasted your vote, good job losers.>> By the way that's my shade translator, Sydney Scott, shutout to Key and Peele. Not only does Trump propose with slash jobs in places like the labor department and EPA. He wants to live us jobless and unable to breathe? Like, come on, my man. What? And issue in cuts some places like the department of health and human services and department housing. Sick and homeless. Is this what you wanna do? Sick and homeless? They'll be out in the streets, dying. Dead in the streets! He's eliminating programs in the Department of Education and altogether doing away with agencies and programs like the United States Institute of Peace, the Minority Business Development Agency and, get this, Meals on wheels. Elderly people are already struggling to feed themselves, and now they won't be able to, and our kids are gonna be stupid? [SOUND] And when asked by reporters how the Trump administration could be So morally bankrupt as to disrupt and eliminate a program that feeds the seniors and provides them with safety checks. The budget director replied with can we ask the tax payer to pay for this? Saying the move was compassionate on tax Taxpayers' pockets. We actually can ask them to pay for this. Let me over-explain this to anyone who thinks Meals on Wheels is just some nice sounding program that doesn't need funding. The program assists up to 500,000 veterans per year. It aids more than 2.4 million people in this country. And most of the programs that stand to be affected by these cuts are put in place to benefit the same people Trump's administration touts as the Americans he wants to help. Who are you helping, you're not helping me, you're not helping anybody else. You're helping your own damn self, selfish, selfish. And the very bottom line Anyone who takes food and services away from babies and the elderly? Are straight up monsters.>>Little babies, and little old-ass ladies. Come on, my god, people!>>So, until next time. [MUSIC].

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