Why ‘Black Lead Matters’ is Important for the November Election

posted by Breanna Khorrami 0 comments
black lead matters - citizen slant
Signs around the West Calumet Housing Complex in East Chicago, Indiana, warn residents about the soil around their homes on July 27. John J. Watkins / AP

While Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is busy describing black communities as some hot bed for crime, the communities are busy facing real, life threatening issues.

Though Trump’s vision of black communities may be straight out of a white supremacist fantasy, his outreach to black communities is conspicuously devoid of one key issue: lead.

In an eye-opining op-ed for the New York Times, Paul Krugman explains,

“…there is a lot we should be doing to help black communities. We could, for example, stop pumping lead into their children’s blood.”

Certainly, this issue should be decidedly non-partisan. Furthermore, it surely doesn’t exist for any candidate to exploit in an effort to reach out to the black faction of the electorate. However, Krugman makes the compelling case that the issue — of not poisoning our kids — is actually very much a partisan issue.

Through his research, Krugman came to learn that,

“In the case of lead, however, there was an additional element of blaming the victims: asserting that lead poisoning was only a problem among ignorant “Negro and Puerto Rican families” who didn’t fix up their dwellings and take care of their children.

This strategy succeeded in delaying action for decades — decades that left a literally toxic legacy in the form of millions of homes and apartments slathered in lead paint.”

The intersection of racist ideology, Republican anti-government rhetoric, and anti-science talking points has brought us to the current moment. Although lead paint may have been taken off of the market in 1978, these viewpoints have withstood the test of time.

Trump, in effect, is an extension of this.

Mrs. Clinton has pledged to “remove lead from everywhere” within five years. She probably wouldn’t be able to get Congress to pay for that ambitious an agenda, but everything in her history, especially her decades-long focus on family policy, suggests that she would make a serious effort.

On the other side, Mr. Trump — oh, never mind. He rants against government regulations of all kinds, and you can imagine what his real estate friends would think about being forced to get the remaining lead out of their buildings. Now, maybe he could be persuaded by scientific evidence to do the right thing. Also, maybe he could be convinced to become a Buddhist monk, which seems about equally likely.”

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.

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