Written by: Tiffany Tubman
August 23, 2017
When Donald Trump took office in January 2017, he had a robust agenda. One of the recurring themes in his agenda was to cut cost and waste throughout the government. Although most people took his approach as an authoritarian leadership style, Trump moved forward placing uneducated and unprepared candidates to support his cabinet. As Trump operates with the smoke and mirrors approach, we continue to focus on what lies beneath his host of distractions.
Trump knew very early on that one department he wanted to re-shape was the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. Trump recently made a pick to lead the EPA, Michael Dourson of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. However, Trump did not let that stop him from making important decisions regarding the budget for the EPA to go before Congress with his temporary appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt using executive order.
In the budget, Pruitt prepared despite any advice from his staff, some major cuts have been proposed. The cuts relate to cutting programs that help minorities and the poor for water protection and lead paint. The water protection regulation is what lead to the exposure of the Flint Water Crisis that has resulted in city officials being arrested and facing criminal and civil charges. Since this event, Trump has recently signed an executive order to begin budgetary cuts that are aimed to monitor lead in the water and paint immediately. As of now, and once approved, the American public will not have visibility on water contaminants and safety. This is believed by experts to target the most vulnerable communities.
A 2015 HuffPost analysis found a strong correlation between high black populations and high lead poisoning rates. This lead poisoning is believed to be coming from the water and paint, which is why the CDC in conjunction with funding from the EPA monitored and corrected for both.
Baltimore and Detroit ― which are nearly 64 and 83 percent black, respectively ― have a two-pronged issue of older, dilapidated housing and extreme poverty. And, in 2015, Baltimore had over 16,700 blighted properties, while Detroit had at least 80,000. As of 2013, eight percent of kids in Detroit had elevated blood-lead levels, which is 16 times the national average, and nearly two percent of kids in Baltimore had high levels as well.
This would not help to improve education and reduce crime in black communities. Children with lead exposure that live into adulthood often suffer from lower IQ scores, behavioral disorders, hyperactivity and a lack of impulse control ― all of which can lead to high crime rates, inability to establish/maintain employment, and a high number of criminal offenders with high recidivism rates.
In the Arkwright and Forest Park communities in Spartanburg, South Carolina, residents were living near contaminated industrial sites and a landfill—and dying of respiratory illnesses and cancer at extraordinary rates. They used a $20,000 environmental justice grant from the EPA as seed money to form partnerships with local businesses and government agencies. Those alliances, in turn, helped bring more than $250 million in infrastructure, community health centers, affordable housing, environmental clean-ups, and job training to the area.
Trump’s budget proposal would effectively eliminate the office and the $2 million it takes to operate it. An EPA spokesperson suggested in a statement that the agency doesn’t need a special arm devoted to environmental justice to continue this work.
Additionally, Trump is allowing once banned temporarily (pending permanent band), pesticides to be used on fruits and vegetables. Despite scientific evidence against the use of chlorpyrifos, the Administration will support the use. This pesticide is brain damaging.
Annual testing reports by USDA show chlorpyrifos residues in nectarines, peaches, cucumbers and other crops. Even low-dose exposure to organophosphates, particularly in the womb, has been found to harm brain development in children, leading to higher risk of disorders like autism.
For years, environmental groups and medical professionals have pushed for an all-out ban on the chemical. In a January letter to EPA, dozens of doctors, nurses and professors urged the agency to revoke all tolerances of chlorpyrifos in food.
Children especially experience greater exposure to organophosphate pesticides, [like chlorpyrifos], due to their increased hand-to-mouth action, and relative to adults they eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more, and breathe more,” the letter states. “With each year of delay in cancelling food tolerances and agricultural and other uses of chlorpyrifos, more children are unnecessarily at elevated risk for problems in learning, social skills, motor function, and other developmental domains.
In Michigan, Trump gave a speech directed to Black voters and bellowed, “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”. Apparently, there was much to lose. Our response should have been, “what do we have to gain?”.
The focus must be on replacing the system of white supremacy with a system of justice. We must demand racism stop and hold those with the most power, the most accountable.
As of 2015, the median income for Black families was 19-20K per year, whereas families of comparable size were significantly higher income. Asian families had a median income of 55K per year, white families 53-54K per year, and Hispanic families 32-33K per year. This significant difference is said to be due to business ownership. For Asians (1 in 10 are business owners), where as whites (1 in 34 are business owners), Hispanics (1 in 54 are business owners) and Blacks (1 in 104 are business owners). Business ownerships are said to generate 8 times wealth rate than any other method.
Justice means guaranteeing that no person is mistreated, all persons abide by the same expectations, and guaranteeing that those persons who need the most help, get the most constructive help in all areas of activity. Racism is the currency of white supremacy. Racism is the competitive relationship between groups of people that are competing for ownership of control of wealth, resources, and power.
Racism is the scientific proactive of unjust subjugation, misuse, mistreatment and/or abuse of persons classified as non-white, by persons classified as white, based on color or non-color, or on basis of factors associated with color or non-color; and/or the system of white supremacy.
Racism is a group phenomenon and a team sport. That said, like basketball and football, if you do not play as a team, you lose. Right now, we are losing because we are not focused and united.
We must end this system of white supremacy and replace it with a system of justice. That is the only way to truly get justice for low income, elderly, and unknowing victims of this race war. The only way to have a system of justice is to re-distribute the wealth and resources of this county among Black people. The common term for that is reparations. Reparations are due!
Right now, for every $1.00 a White family acquires in wealth, the comparable Black family with the same demographics, acquires $0.02. The average White family has 3500 times more wealth than the average Black family. Please keep in mind, wealth is not income. Income is your weekly pay and living wages, what you need to pay bills. Wealth is the surplus of your labor, or stored money. Wealth is generational, which is why black people are so far behind. You cannot be equal and just with any person having that kind of income disparity.
Family, we need to make sure we are all communicating the need for justice and reparations as a part of that solution. We will be starting grass roots but we all must be educated, informed, on code, and speaking the same language.
As always, stay safe. Know what is in your water and food supply. Buy bottled water, boil all water before use, and make sure we grow our own food. If you are not growing your own food, buy organic pesticide free food. Wash all fruits and vegetables before use.
- Fill a large bowl with 4 parts water to 1 part plain white vinegar.
- Soak the fruit or vegetables you’d like to clean in the mixture for 20 minutes.
- Rinse the fruit or vegetables well with water.
If you are buying fresh produce, and there is no mention of pesticide treatment, assume the worst and treat your foods as if they might be exposed. Make it a habit to always wash your fresh fruits and vegetables.
In our next articles, we will be discussing the Black dollar and Black health. With the Trump Administration causing so many distractions, it can be difficult to stay up on new policies/policy changes but we will keep you updated at Melanoid Nation.
Practice your Second Amendment right.