I wrote this because I believe addressing our differences is the only way to create discourse—and solutions to fight climate change.
Please enjoy this except and head over to DAME magazine to read the full article.
As an African-American woman working in a predominantly white environmental space, I’ve had more than one engagement with white people who assume that just because I’ve worked in or with large environmental groups, I “get it” and must see solutions the way that they do. How very wrong. The “how” we talk about climate change is becoming more and more important to implementable solutions as communities of color recognize their value and importance to the answer. Truth is, privilege has always existed in the climate space just like it does everywhere else. But due to the urgency of the climate crisis and the small universe of climate groups, we no longer have the luxury of tolerating said privilege. Our planet requires climate action now, and it requires all of us.
Acting under the guise of white privilege denies groups the opportunity to learn from each other and enact culturally innovative ideas that can solve more than one problem at a time. Let’s face it, when I say the words “climate change” most Americans think vegan white people in Birkenstocks who care more about polar bears than people. While this perception of the environmentalist couldn’t be further from the truth, the practice of white privilege in our country and the resulting disconnect with communities of color is our present reality. Privilege interferes with our ability to understand why people reject certain solutions. It prevents people from hearing the real-time pain associated with being left out of a decision that will directly impact them and their families for generations to come. No one is denying a variety of solutions should be considered, but how we discuss it prevents the implementation… READ MORE HERE