Race, class, gender, and American environmentalism.
|Authors:||Dorceta E. Taylor|
|Type:||General Technical Report|
|Station:||Pacific Northwest Research Station|
|Source:||Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-534. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 51 p|
AbstractThis paper examines the environmental experiences of middle and working class whites and people of color in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. It examines their activism and how their environmental experiences influenced the kinds of discourses they developed. The paper posits that race, class, and gender had profound effects on people's environmental experiences, and consequently their activism and environmental discourses.
Historical data show that while some middle class whites fled the cities and their urban ills to focus attention on outdoor explorations, wilderness and wildlife issues, some of their social contemporaries stayed in the cities to develop urban parks and help improve urban environmental conditions. Though there were conflicts between white middle and working class activists over the use of open space, the white working class collaborated with white middle-class urban environmental activists to improve public health and worker health and safety, whereas, people of color, driven off their land, corralled onto reservations, enslaved, and used as low-wage laborers, developed activist agendas and environmental discourses that linked racism and oppression to worker health and safety issues, limited access to resources, loss of or denial of land ownership, and infringement on human rights.