The Congressional Black Caucus and the Hip Hop Caucus are gearing up to fight a new form of racial injustice produced by… climate change. The Hip Hop Caucus says, when it comes to environmental racism, “communities of color bear” the “biggest burden.”
The Washington-based nonprofit says the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrine “[S]howed the world who suffers first and worst – the poor and people of color – from the devastation of natural disasters caused by extreme weather patterns, which are increasing because of global warming.”
Campaigning for clean water and air since 2005, The Hip Hop Caucus recently turned its sites on stopping the development of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Community activist and President of the Hip Hop Caucus Rev. Lennox Yearwood says stopping Keystone’s completion is the “lunch counter moment for the 21st century.”
On its quest for climate justice, the Hip Hop Caucus has 3 goals:
1. Standing up to the fossil fuel industry’s strong hold on our democracy, by calling for Black institutions, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to divest from the fossil fuel industry, and calling on African American leading organizations and African American elected officials to stop accepting financial contributions from these companies.
2. Organizing on Black colleges, with Black churches and mosques, and using Black media, to engage new people in the environmental justice and climate movement.
3. Creating materials and resources that illustrate how environmental issues impact the daily lives of people of color, with a particular focus on health impacts of pollution, the same pollution that comes from extracting and burning fossil fuels that are causing climate change.
The Hip Hop Caucus has based its bizarre claims — that the negative effects of climate change target blacks — on the idea that the devastation caused by natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, are the result of man’s addiction to fossil fuels. In reality, the devastation and the lives lost from Katrina was the result of feckless state and local leadership, levee and other infrastructure failures, and decades of soul-sapping dependence on poverty programs. However, the world was told to blame George W. Bush and racism–and now climate change.
The Hip Hop Caucus is planning to tour six historically black colleges and universities to urge black, brown, and white students to demand climate justice, whatever that means. The kids on these college campuses are routinely told that not addressing climate change is the newest form of racism. These intellectually incurious rebels need a cause. And the Hip Hop Caucus has one.
It’s sad that this even has to be said, but comparing the fight against climate change to black Americans’ fight for civil rights is grotesque. And the Hip Hop Caucus’ suggestion that bad weather is black America’s foremost racial oppressor is just dumb. The reality of today’s minorities is not one of police dogs, fire hoses, and lynch mobs. It’s having trouble choosing between a pumpkin spice latte or peppermint mocha.
The climate crusaders, with their bruised self-esteems and their head-bobbing obedience, believe they are making a difference. They have swallowed whole the Hip Hop Caucus’ climate dogma. But when you tell an entire generation of Americans that they are victims of environmental racism, you are begging for trouble.
The Hip Hop Caucus leadership knows these Generation Y-ers won’t ask why. Why tour college campuses? Because this sort of asinine hogwash wouldn’t gain traction outside of the confines American academia. They’d be laughed out of town.
But these kids just want to be cool. And protesting global warming is the new cool.
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