Environmental racism is intentional or unintentional racial discrimination in environmental decision-making, systematic exclusion of people of color from the mainstream environmental movement, negligent enforcement of environmental protections, laws and regulations along racial lines, and disproportionate distribution of environmental burdens on racial and ethnic minorities where they live, work, and play.

Environmental racism has been endemic throughout U.S. history as a parallel story deeply rooted in the ideological constructions of race, nature, and society. Environmental racism can be traced to colonial dispossession of Native American homelands to their expulsion from national parks and wilderness areas for the benefit of 19th century white, middle-class tourists and environmentalists, such as John Muir. For the African-American community, slavery's expropriation of environmental knowledge, reconstruction-era land loss, and consequent rural exodus ...

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