Melissa Checker’s Polluted Promises: Environmental Racism and the Search for Justice in a Southern Town (2005) New York: New York University Press. Is one of checker’s best books and has gained fame over the times. Scholars have argued that this novel is set up in an environment which is imbalanced. Environmental inequity is evident in the lives of the leaders who are the main characters in the book. The author comes in to give solutions to the chaos that exist in this Augusta Georgia setting. The ethnographic account of this book shows the struggles faced in urban centers.
These are mainly countries in the African region in the third world country. The writer further illustrates the extent of inequality that exists in these countries. A lot of emphasis rests on the resentment that the African Americans receive. This is further coupled with apartheid and the underclass level that they are put in. the book lays down goals to try and unveil the response of other citizens to the lifestyle of the blacks. The strength of the polluted promise is seen with the achievement of information about the treatment of Africans.
The information that comes out shows racial separation and shows that the attitude towards the Africans is experienced in all the spheres including politics (p. 12). Racism is a serious offence that is seen to be covered in the book. Checker explains that existence of classes is a more evil way of segregating some people. This may be true but the fact still remains that racism is going on in this society. The leadership actually fights to cover racism by saying that classes are rather more serious. This is supported by Wilson’s hidden agenda ideas.
The gap in this society exists in terms of wealth. The white are seen to have a lot of wealth compared to the black urban poor. This is supported by Wilson’s findings. The ethnographic account of this book dwells a lot on the overflow of racism in almost all the activities of the community. Political arena is also caught up in identity politics in which people form factions. This further influence the way resources are distributed in the society. This book displays possibility of arriving at a safe destination.
This comes in the proposal of having convergence in the systems. Environmentalism and civil rights and new forms of society movements are the key aspects to be embraced in forming the convergence. Such a unitary community is characteristic of equality and love amongst all the citizens (p. 33). The environment is further displayed to have more challenges. Checker uncovers them as to include: problems faced while working with experts of the environment and the technical talk of experts. Another challenge seen is on building lasting relationship with protection agencies.
Alliances and coalition formation is another challenge that exist in the society as explained by the author. Checker’s work further supports environmental injustice by its summary on politics, economic decisions like resource distribution and human relations. People are seen to compromise on the environmental justice in all these aspects. This is what makes the book; polluted promises a rich ethnography. Source Melissa Checker. (2005). Polluted Promises. New York: New York University Press