Just yesterday I was driving through a small town in Southern Maine when I passed a police patrol car in a parking lot. The cop abruptly pulled out and followed me until I left town…I didn't get stopped as I knew that road had a 25 mph limit and I offered him no excuse. That's because I have learned to be careful in these places– Indeed when I first started coming to this region a few years ago virtually every town–about 8 or 9 in the area –pulled me over, though I never got a ticket…..I finally figured out the offense was 'driving while black.'
In the arena of the environment, things are not usually as obvious. So imagine what it is like in a case of disproportionate toxic exposure where the options for the authorities are more complex.
Pretty much all the folks on the bicycle thief tape were unaware of their racist prejudices. They believed that they were acting on facts, not attitudes.
So when it comes to a black neighborhood that is choked with pollution and poor transit patterns, does society tolerate that because it what people expect to see? Do they think it is a natural fact that black people live under such conditions, or do they understand that environmental injustice is a function of attitudes?
My guess is that it's most often the former, rather than the latter, but what do you think? And what do you think could be done?