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

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

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

"A fine overview for those interested in the subject matter. Summing Up: Highly recommended."-CHOICE,

"The Wrong Complexion for Protection is an intellectual version of a 'greatest hits' album, combining autobiography and research findings to give a picture of the authors' important contributions to the field of environmental justice, and a picture of what environmental justice has contributed to political science and other fields."-Patrick S. Roberts,Political Science Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814799932
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/23/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,449,461
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert D. Bullard is the Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston and author of 17 books, including Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States.

Beverly Wright is the founding director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) at Dillard University, New Orleans and co-chair of the Environmental Justice Climate Change (EJCC) Initiative and author of Race, Place and Environmental Justice after Hurricane Katrina.

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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

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