Abstract

Environmental damage disproportionately affects communities of color. Understanding how environmental racism uniquely affects marginalized communities is crucial to effectively develop public policies that will address the systematic racism that is rooted in many existing policies and practices. The town of Mossville, Louisiana provides a case study of a Black town that experienced devastating environmental pollution as well as displacement from the oil and petrochemical industries in the region (Rogers, 2015), with few residents still in the area. This thesis presents a qualitative study utilizing peer-reviewed literature, secondary sources, and life narratives of Mossville residents. These oral histories serve to amplify the voices of the former and present Mossville residents who shared their experiences living there while the oil and chemical industries slowly polluted the town and later bought people’s homes. This research adds to the existing body of literature on Mossville by emphasizing the importance Black communities play in social development and how displacing these communities damages decades of culture, family, and safety. This research illustrates how the “slow violence” of institutional racism allows for ongoing racial injustices, including environmental racism in South Louisiana, to occur. An important implication for policy is that Black communities need to be represented and involved in public policy making to make progressive anti-racist public policies that combat environmental racism.

Publication Date

2022

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Public Policy (CLA)

Advisor

Sandra Rothenberg

Advisor/Committee Member

Ann Howard

Advisor/Committee Member

Christine Keiner

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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