National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
The socio-environmental potential for harm: Double dispossession through uneven racial development and climate change
Seminar presented by Dean Hardy, Postdoctoral Fellow at SESYNC.
Uneven racial development in the United States has led to the persistence of significant inequalities across Black and White populations for decades. White households earned 61% more income than Black households in 2014, for example, but more importantly White people’s median net worth was 13 times that of Black people’s in 2014. Moreover, while the high school educational gap between Black and White people has closed significantly since the 1960s, the racial gap between those receiving a college degree has increased from 6% to 13%. Such racial inequality signifies both the legacy of racial discrimination from slavery and Jim Crow era legislation of separate but equal, but perhaps more nefariously these inequalities highlight the ongoing perpetuation of racial hegemony through colorblind racism. The persistence of racial inequality increases the potential for harm to Black populations, especially under a changing climate. In this talk, I will present preliminary results from a project that synthesizes social and environmental data from coastal Georgia, specifically Sapelo Island, with attention to the dynamics of race and racism as well as flood risk under rising seas. I show how the current potential for harm from flooding for African American families is shaped by historical racial inequality and land use decisions. I argue that future risk to flooding-while shaped by historical socio-environmental processes that “set the stage”-will be driven by contemporary land struggles and rising seas.
SESYNC seminars are open to all interested attendees. Join us in Annapolis!
The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, funded through an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation, is a research center dedicated to accelerating data-driven scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems. Visit us online at www.sesync.org and follow us on Twitter @SESYNC.