NYC Black Residents Die From Heat Stress At Double The Rate Of White Residents, Report Says


Source: YUKI IWAMURA / Getty

Americans all over the country are facing record-breaking heat waves at the start of the summer, drawing attention to the disparities among heat-related deaths when it comes to Black people.

On Sunday, an excessive heat warning was issued by the National Weather Service for locations in the West and Pacific Northwest. The warning, which is the weather service’s highest alert, has affected about 36 million people, according to meteorologist Bryan Jackson.

The temperature reached 128 degrees at Death Valley National Park in eastern California on Sunday, causing one visitor to die and another to be hospitalized.

In New York City, extremely high temperatures continue throughout the month with temperatures expected to reach 90 for the fourth consecutive day. Authorities say residents should stay vigilant for any symptoms of heat stroke, such as hot and dry skin, increased heart rate, confusion and nausea.

Excessive temperatures have drawn attention to the disparities among heat-related deaths when it comes to Black people.

Heat is the top cause of weather-related deaths nationwide, killing around 350 New Yorkers each year, according to a city mortality report.

“Only a quarter of New York City’s population is African American, but half of the deaths from heat are African Americans,  Bill Ulfelder, the executive director of the Nature Conservancy in New York, told AP. “So there is something wildly disproportionate.”

NYC Heat-related mortality report also found that Black New Yorkers are more likely to die from heat stress, with death rates two times higher than White New Yorkers. Black residents of the city also have a higher likelihood of heat-exacerbated death compared to other New Yorkers.

The report points to past and current structural racism as the cause, which creates economic, health care, housing, and energy disadvantages for people of color.

Racist policies centered around redlining and segregation have left Black neighborhoods hotter and more polluted than their white counterparts.  America’s air quality and toxic waste dumping also add to the problem. Top that with natural disasters and you have a recipe for suffrage among Black people due to the impacts of climate change.

To understand this problem better we first must understand environmental racism.

As previously reported, Environmental racism is defined as environmental injustice that occurs within a racialized context both in practice and policy.

The concept describes the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color. Higher air pollution and rising temperatures have always plagued communities of color, but so have a host of other issues.

The term was coined by civil rights leader Benjamin Chavis in 1982. The environmental justice movement began during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1970s. But, environmental oppression dates back to America’s racist redlining practices in the 1930s.

As severe heat waves, floods and hurricanes worsen, so will the importance of understanding environmental racism.

The more we know, the more we can demand the resources we need to solve problems and save lives. Although the plight of environmental racism is daunting, there is hope.


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The post NYC Black Residents Die From Heat Stress At Double The Rate Of White Residents, Report Says appeared first on NewsOne.

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