Few Americans see race as a major factor in social inequality

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Only 33% of American families believe that more black people are aware of environmental pollution and that this type of documentation is inappropriate, a Washington State University study found.

A survey of 1,000 U.S. families found that 59%of Americans believe that poverty is the root cause of environmental inequality. Only 37% think blacks are more likely than whites to experience pollution, although this is a number. While among those who believe this diversity of the environment is real, some feel it is “appropriate” – that is, it is up to those living close to polluting industries to work harder so they can move. .

“A small number of people in the U.S. believe in social diversity across racial lines,” said Dylan Bugden, a WSU sociologist and author of the study published in the journal. Social problems. “This is obviously a challenge for the environmental justice movement to try to convince the public that this is true.”

Different aspects of the environment are affected by everything from close proximity to polluting industries to unlimited access to clean water and green spaces. Some also have the ability to deal with the effects of climate change, such as getting air during the heat or being able to recover from fire or water damage. Research has shown that black communities are more likely to have environmental problems than white communities of similar income levels.

For this study, Budgen analyzed data from an AmeriSpeak omnibus survey conducted in May 2020. Conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, AmeriSpeak scientists selected panels of banks to be as an ambassador for US families.

Bugden compared researchers ’perceptions of environmental diversity to their answers to questions about the evolution of the American economy and“ meritocracy ” -i.e. important, how easy it is for humble Americans to improve their status through their hard work and their talent.

The study also looked at responses to what is known as the “racial rage system.” Because few people in the U.S. say they are racist, researchers have developed questions to evaluate simple ideas, such as slavery and discrimination in situations that make people difficult. Black people will prosper, or black people will be able to improve theirs. survive if they “work hard.”

Looking at the relationship between the answers to the questions in these three areas and the differences in the environment, Bugden sees a strong connection. Those at the height of racial hatred did not believe that America was an economic system, the meritocratic society did not believe in the responsibility of the nation to social inequality, or that such inequality was unfair. zero.

“I don’t have a experience like this where there was a lot of impact,” Bugden said. “It’s very clear that there is a connection between the idea that we live in a positive,‘ post-racial ’society and the belief that there is a different kind of society and whether or not they were supportive of doing something related. to him. “

The researcher called this relationship “color-blind environmental racism.” The majority of respondents believed class, but not race, played a role in environmental diversity. Bugden called this common blind belief, a belief that rejects racism in a way that perpetuates it.

The amount of blind environmental activism is a major obstacle to policy proposals such as the Green New Deal, Budgen said, combining social, economic and environmental policies.

“There’s a paradox: if you see the public as racial in a policy, you can provoke racial backlash from an American election that doesn’t believe they’re real and doesn’t want to use racism. resources to address their consequences, ”he said. “It’s an old story, but it’s a way of planning a moving environment.”


White Americans make a significant contribution to racial advancement, research shows


More information:
Dylan Bugden, Social inequality in American thought: The problem of color-blind manipulation. Social problems (2022). DOI: 10.1093 / socpro / spac005

Presented by Washington State University

Directions: Few Americans see race as the main cause of environmental inequality (2022, April 13) Retrieved April 14, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04- americans-key-factor-environmental-inequality.html

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