□ Our reporter Wu Qiong

  Recently, the water supply crisis and water safety issues in areas with a high proportion of African Americans and other ethnic minorities have attracted widespread attention in the United States and abroad.

Analysts pointed out that African-American and other minority-inhabited areas frequently encounter "water crises", highlighting the long-standing problem of "environmental racism" in the United States.

  Why do "water crises" come together?

  In recent years, in the United States, news of water supply crises and water safety issues in areas with a high proportion of African-Americans and other ethnic minorities has frequently appeared in the newspapers.

Why do "water crises" cluster together in some American cities where ethnic minorities are the main population?

Is this really a coincidence?

  According to Agence France-Presse, CBS and other media reports, in less than two years, Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, has encountered three serious "water crises" in succession. The old and poorly maintained water supply stations in the area The supply is often rust-brown, lead-tainted tap water.

What is intriguing is that more than 80% of the 150,000 population of Jackson City are African-Americans and aboriginals and other minorities.

  James Brown, a resident of Jackson, complained to the media that the city has not been able to guarantee a sustainable water supply for many years. Even if the water pressure is sufficient, residents need to boil the water before they dare to use it for drinking and cooking.

The mayor of Jackson also publicly admitted that in the past two years, the city has continued to experience emergencies due to water supply problems. "This is not a question of whether the water supply system will collapse, but a question of when it will collapse."

  From the perspective of local residents, the reason why the local government and even the U.S. federal government ignores the "water crisis" is precisely because about 83% of the residents in this area are African Americans and other minorities.

  In fact, it is not an isolated case that areas with a high proportion of Africans and other ethnic minorities encounter water supply crises and water safety issues.

It is not uncommon to see minority-inhabited areas suffering from the "water crisis" in the United States.

For example, in Baltimore, the largest city in Maryland, rusty brown water often flows out of taps, especially in African-American communities.

  In this regard, Talbert Swan, an African-American civil rights activist, pointed out that in the United States, it is impossible for a city with a majority of whites to be without clean drinking water for a long time.

At present, there are many examples in the United States that can confirm this statement: in Benton Harbor, a small town in Michigan where African Americans account for about 85%, excessive lead content in tap water was detected as early as 2018, but the local government never paid attention to it .

It was not until angry residents petitioned the environmental protection department that the government issued a ban on tap water and distributed bottled drinking water to the public.

It is extremely ironic that the city of St. Joseph, which is only a bridge away from the city of Benton Harbor where the "water crisis" occurred, and where the majority of white people have good infrastructure and safe drinking water, has encountered the residents of Benton Harbor It can be described as worlds apart.

  'Environmental racism' bears fruit

  "For decades, racial discrimination has eroded many cities and government agencies in the United States, and in turn affected the city's water pipes." "Minorities and people of color in the United States are often victims of 'environmental racism'"... More than one American media commented in this way in the report.

  NBC News reporter Kate Tenbach directly pointed out that the "water crisis" in areas with a high proportion of ethnic minorities is the result of "environmental racism".

The water supply crisis that has occurred in many parts of the United States has affected African Americans and indigenous peoples disproportionately compared with their population proportion, which is in line with the "environmental racism" model that has existed since the founding of the United States.

  Agence France-Presse also quoted observers as saying that cities that often encounter "water crises" have one thing in common, that is, most of the residents are Africans and other ethnic minorities. "This confirms the existence of 'environmental racism' in the United States. Americans are disproportionately affected by environmental pollution."

  Latosha Brown and Cliff Albright, co-founders of the US non-profit organization "Black Voters Matter", pointed out in a statement that the "water crisis" is rooted in systemic racism and local governments in the United States. government malfeasance.

Local governments ignore the rights and basic needs of ethnic minorities.

  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of the United States also holds a similar view, pointing out that African-American, aboriginal and other minority communities and communities of color have never been able to get rid of the water crisis. Discrimination and differential treatment have not received the same and equal attention as the white community for a long time, and are often regarded as unimportant or even negligible communities.

  Not only in the United States, but also in the international community.

The UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism and Racial Discrimination pointed out in a statement that "environmental racism" seriously threatens the human rights of African Americans, including the rights to life, health, and housing.

  Environmental inequalities come to light

  In fact, it is not just a "water crisis". In the United States, ethnic minorities such as African Americans have long faced various serious environmental inequalities.

They are more likely than whites to live in poorer neighborhoods with high levels of air pollution, proximity to landfills and higher rates of environmental poisoning such as lead poisoning.

  "Minorities in the United States are often victims of 'environmental racism'." The US "Business Insider" website pointed out, "Many minorities live near dangerous sources of pollution, which have a great impact on their lives. "

  Numerous studies have shown that black and Hispanic communities have higher rates of exposure to air pollution, toxic waste dumps, landfills, lead poisoning, and more than white communities.

In 1987, Toxic Waste and Race in America became the first study in the United States to link toxic waste and racial discrimination, finding that 60 percent of African-American and Hispanic Americans lived in neighborhoods affected by toxic waste .

  In the 1970s, the "Environmental Justice Movement" emerged in the United States to protest against the increased exposure of people of color to hazardous waste and air pollution.

However, half a century later, these problems not only persist across the United States, but intensify.

It can be said that the "environmental racism" in the United States has not changed in the slightest.

Tracing back to the source, it is the deep-rooted cancer of racism in American society.

  A review article in the British "Guardian" called "environmental racism" "America's dirty divide" and believed that it left minorities behind.

The article criticized that the various environmental inequalities encountered by ethnic minorities in the United States are not coincidental, but stem from long-term racist and discriminatory practices.

In the United States, African-Americans and other ethnic minorities have been fighting for the right to a clean, safe, and healthy environment for generations, but they cannot get it.

Systemic racism means that access to clean air, clean water and proper sanitation is not taken for granted in the world's wealthiest country.

  What is even more embarrassing is that due to institutional and structural problems, the cloud of "environmental racism" hanging over the heads of ethnic minorities in the United States has always been difficult to be completely dispelled.

  As an African-American citizen who grew up in the United States and is familiar with American society, Darrell Brown, vice president of the Rhode Island Center of the American Conservation Law Foundation, pointed out helplessly that he knows that "racism in the United States is institutional and structural. , and supported by laws, institutions, and culture", "In the United States, ubiquitous racist practices such as 'environmental racism' persist, and racism continues to be protected and spread by the US government and businesses."