Why does everything seem to be a racial issue? I came across this yesterday. House Majority Whip James Clyburn D-S.C. and a recent report claim that African Americans not only are less responsible for climate change but also disproportionately affected by climate change. What a ridiculous claim! He might qualify for the Hall of Shame. Now I could understand these comments a little more easily had the reference been to Blacks in Sub-Saharan Africa or the Nomadal tribes found scattered across the African Continent or the Pacific Islanders. But African Americans? Huh?
Aren’t African Americans supposed to be regular normal Americans, just like anyone else? Isn’t that what the Civil Rights movement is all about? And forget that he said African Americans anyway. It doesn’t matter if Clyburn said Hispanic Americans, Jewish Americans, White Americans or Green Americans. How can any one racial group be more affected than another when we all live together in the same country, in the same states, in the same cities and in the same towns. We all use gas to drive our cars. We all are on the electric grid. We all drink water. We all contribute to environmental use, disuse and waste.
Sure there is a smaller percentage of African Americans that live in the United States than say, whites, so it does seem to follow that there should be a proportionately smaller percentage of African American-generated climate change as a whole. But how do you measure that? On a person-to-person level, how can one say that David (African American) is more affected than Joe (White) or Pablo (Hispanic) or Joel (Jewish)? In fact, on any given day, I can show you a handful of African Americans who obviously consume more gasoline and produce a bigger carbon footprint than me or someone of another race.
We all know of the plight of the Katrina victims and that is a different and deeper multifaceted discussion. But there are many low-lying coastal areas around the U.S. and the world with a significantly lower population of African Americans than other races. These other populations would be significantly affected by the feared global warming climate changes. If the oceans were to rise, there are significant populations in China, India, Australia, the Pacific Rim and South Pacific that would be affected to a much greater degree than African Americans.
What we need is less of people like Clyburn, injecting racial overtones into any situation possible. If climate change occurs, and is as bad as someone like Al Gore preaches, then it is a significant global issue, not isolated nor selective in who it affects. The focus should be on how all of society should respond and behave and how we can minimize its effects on all segments of society, rich and poor, Hispanic or Jew. Then again, if the comparison was made against Al Gore and his excessive consumption and effect on climate change, read here and read here, then it is quite likely that almost all African Americans are less responsible and more affected by climate change than the self-appointed environmental guru.