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The Infinity of Black Oppression

I recently came across an Instagram post where a woman detailed how she earned $371,935 solely due to her whiteness in an article titled "How Racism Benefited Me as a White Woman." While her revelation wasn't surprising or groundbreaking, it served as yet another confirmation of how American society operates through the lens of one white individual. Racism is one of the nation's oldest and most ingrained structures, permeating its environment, educational institutions, real estate and political systems.


Today, racism takes on more acceptable forms, at least within the context of a capitalist society, unlike the overt racism experienced two centuries ago. Efforts by black communities to address these issues are often met with disrespect, neglect or accusations of dwelling on the past. However, the truth remains that the black experience has been profoundly shaped and constrained by historical factors such as slavery, segregation and oppression. Various challenges faced by black communities, ranging from redlining to environmental injustices, health disparities, financial instability and more, are all manifestations of white supremacy and privilege in a capitalist framework. This prompts a critical question: In a patriarchal society, how can justice and fairness be ensured for black people? Is it conceivable for both black individuals and patriarchal structures to coexist without one group suffering at the expense of the other?


Black people cannot attain justice for past wrongs or coexist fairly with white individuals due to the persistent existence of white privilege. White privilege, rooted in white supremacy, involves white individuals seeking to improve their lives often without malicious intent but frequently at the expense of other communities and races. White privilege and supremacy are intertwined, with one perpetuating the other. As long as they persist, black oppression will endure. 


High-polluting corporations are one of the largest fund sources for political campaigns. They donate large quantities of money to support the campaigns of officials who will protect and provide support for them. Two thirds of oil and gas companies have given money to Republican candidates. In this year's election alone, oil and gas companies gave $27 million to Republican campaigns. In turn, elected officials pass laws supporting these companies, this includes lax policies and restrictions. These laws allow these companies to build on redlined communities, without taking precautions or considering how those within these communities are impacted.


Black communities are often heavily unregulated, poor, unmaintained and usually underfunded and unrepresented compared to white communities, making them convenient dumping sites for pollutants and chemicals. Racism is a root cause of environmental injustices; research has shown that hazardous pollutant industries are often placed at the core of Black and colored communities. Redlining has directly enabled the segregation of Black and white communities, ultimately segregating pollution. Redlined districts have higher pollution burdens than non-redlined districts. Due to this, humans residing in redlined neighborhoods today demonstrate higher rates of adverse health outcomes, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and asthma.


Corporate interests further exacerbate the disparities black communities face because policies and practices that have historically, and to this day, favored the health, well-being and consumer choices of white communities over those of non-white, low-income communities. It's no coincidence that industrial zones are directly located near redlined districts. Another factor that plays into this is representation; the people making these policies are middle-class white males. When white communities complain about such issues, they are almost always immediately addressed.


For example, when General Iron moved into a generally white middle-class neighborhood, they were forced by the government to relocate to another location after community members complained. General Iron ended up moving into a low-income neighborhood of color where they were not forced to move. In this situation, although the people in the white communities had no intention of placing waste in the backyards of colored communities, they ultimately indirectly did so when they used their white privilege to move the company from their neighborhood.


Ultimately, addressing environmental injustices necessitates challenging white supremacy and the capitalist, patriarchal structures that uphold it. However, this poses a fundamental challenge to American society and its prevailing systems. Racism and oppression are deeply intertwined with capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchal structures. In essence, achieving a fair and unbiased coexistence between white and black individuals seems unattainable within the current societal framework.


Acknowledgment: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.

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