Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States
NYU Press, 8 janv. 2016 - 288 pages
When Joe Biden attempted to compliment Barack Obama by calling him “clean and articulate,” he unwittingly tapped into one of the most destructive racial stereotypes in American history. This book tells the history of the corrosive idea that whites are clean and those who are not white are dirty. From the age of Thomas Jefferson to the Memphis Public Workers strike of 1968 through the present day, ideas about race and waste have shaped where people have lived, where people have worked, and how American society’s wastes have been managed. Clean and White offers a history of environmental racism in the United States focusing on constructions of race and hygiene. In the wake of the civil war, as the nation encountered emancipation, mass immigration, and the growth of an urbanized society, Americans began to conflate the ideas of race and waste. Certain immigrant groups took on waste management labor, such as Jews and scrap metal recycling, fostering connections between the socially marginalized and refuse. Ethnic “purity” was tied to pure cleanliness, and hygiene became a central aspect of white identity. Carl A. Zimring here draws on historical evidence from statesmen, scholars, sanitarians, novelists, activists, advertisements, and the United States Census of Population to reveal changing constructions of environmental racism. The material consequences of these attitudes endured and expanded through the twentieth century, shaping waste management systems and environmental inequalities that endure into the twenty-first century. Today, the bigoted idea that non-whites are “dirty” remains deeply ingrained in the national psyche, continuing to shape social and environmental inequalities in the age of Obama.
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African American American cities Archives Center areas became Census Chicago Defender Chinese civil rights clean cleaner communities David Yellin dirt dirty disease dumps economic environmental inequalities environmental racism European foreign-born garbage grew Henry Loeb Hispanic historian History housing hygiene Ibid immigrants industrial Italian Italian American janitors Jewish Jews junk Klan Ku Klux Klan labor laundry living Loeb’s Mayor Loeb Melosi municipal nation native-born Negro neighborhoods nineteenth century non-white organized peddler percent political pollution population president produced public health purity racial racial segregation recycling residential rural sanitarians sanitary occupations Sanitation Strike Archival sanitation workers scavengers segregation skin color slavery slaves soap social society South Southern streets Strike Archival Project suburban T. O. Jones tape number Thomas Jefferson tion twentieth century Union United University of Memphis urban Warshaw Collection waste handling waste management waste trades Wastes and Race white Americans white ethnics white identity white supremacy women World York City