There Are Other Kinds of Violence Against African Americans

Check that out. That's an idyllic little town setting, isn't it? All crops and and trees and nicely manicured lawns and is that a diner? Just lovely. It's what the Tennessee Valley Authority promised Uniontown, Alabama, would happen when the local landfill, run by a company called Arrowhead, agreed to take the toxic coal ash from the largest coal ash spill ever in the United States. That happened up the road in Harriman, Tennessee, in 2008, and it just fucked things up for the white, middle-class people in that suburb of Knoxville. So they made a deal to tote the shit down the road, to Uniontown, which is almost 90% black.

Yes, it's that blatant.

And guess what? Things didn't turn out as the TVA promised. 'Cause missing from that pleasant scene is all the "headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting...Nosebleeds, sore throats, skin rashes, asthma especially in children, and inflamed sinuses," and the potential for an increase in cancer and lung disease. As for the corn field there, "once vibrant and fertile vegetable gardens that fed their families for generations are now barren, and fruit trees are dotted with deformed and withered fruit."

That's because the landfill wasn't treating coal ash, which contains arsenic, mercury, and lots of nasty shit, as a toxic substance. Arsenic was found in a creek near the landfill, which also takes in garbage from 33 states. For only the 8th time since 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency's Civil Rights Office has begun an investigation of the treatment of the mostly black citizens of Uniontown. The EPA started this week by interviewing residents. A report is expected in December.

By the way, the EPA was called in when the state agency tasked with protecting the citizens refused to even hear their case.

While we grapple with police violence against African Americans, we cannot ignore the more subtle violence committed by the disempowerment caused by poverty, a situation that leads people to be forced to live across the street from: