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The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities

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When the images of desperate, hungry, thirsty, sick, mostly black people circulated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it became apparent to the whole country that race did indeed matter when it came to government assistance. In The Wrong Complexion for Protection, Robert D. Bullard and Beverly Wright place the government response to natural and human-induced disasters in historical context over the past eight decades. They compare and contrast how the government responded to emergencies, including environmental and public health emergencies, toxic contamination, industrial accidents, bioterrorism threats and show that African Americans are disproportionately affected. Bullard and Wright argue that uncovering and eliminating disparate disaster response can mean the difference between life and death for those most vulnerable in disastrous times.

ISBN-13: 9780814799932

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: New York University Press

Publication Date: 07-23-2012

Pages: 304

Product Dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Robert D. Bullard (Author) Robert D. Bullard is Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern Universityand Director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice. He is former Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs and author and co-author of several books including Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality and Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States: Strategies for Building Just, Sustainable and Livable Communities. Beverly Wright (Author) Beverly Wright is Founder and Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. She is the co-author of Race, Place, and Environmental Justice after Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Revitalize New Orleans.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“The brutal realities of institutional racism in disaster readiness, response, and recovery are unveiled here in black and white, through compelling case studies, jaw-dropping statistics, and thoroughly documented sociological and historical data.”-David Naguib Pellow,co-author of The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants vs. the Environment in America's Eden

“A fascinating insiders’ account from the frontlines of the struggle to get the government to act fairly in the face of environmental injustice, with vast implications for future disasters.”-Timmons Roberts,co-author of A Climate of Injustice

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations xi

Preface xv

Introduction: Anatomy of Vulnerability 1

1 Race, Place, and the Environment in a Small Southern Town: A Personal Perspective from Robert D. Bullard 9

2 Growing Up in a City That Care Forgot, New Orleans: A Personal Perspective from Beverly Wright 26

3 The Legacy of Bias: Hurricanes, Droughts, and Floods 47

4 Recovery and Reconstruction in Post-Katrina New Orleans: A Time for Healing and Renewal 73

5 The Wrong Complexion for Protection: Response to Toxic Contamination 100

6 Nightmare on Eno Road: Poisoned Water and Toxic Racism in Dickson, Tennessee 126

7 Living and Dying on the Fenceline: Response to Industrial Accidents 156

8 Separate and Unequal Treatment: Response to Health Emergencies, Human Experiments, and Bioterrorism Threats: 181

9 Critical Conditions: Fixing a Broken System 209

Notes 235

References 245

Index 277

About the Authors 299