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Black in 'Red Zone', White in'Green Zone' | Climate Change Causes Racial Discrimination

The New York Times displayed the temperature of each region in Richmond, Virginia, USA in color on the 24th (local time). The'green zone' is cooler, but the'red zone' is hotter. (New York Times screen capture)

In the Gilpin area of ​​Richmond, Virginia, the average summer temperature is 2.7 degrees higher than the surrounding area. In summer, concrete radiates heat into the streets, and green space is hardly found. This area is also a typical black settlement. Of the 2600 total population, blacks account for 96.1% and whites account for only 0.8%. Black people mostly live in cheap public rental housing that lacks air conditioning.

The New York Times reported that in 108 cities such as Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Portland and New York, as well as Richmond, summer temperatures in poor or non-white neighborhoods average 2.6 degrees higher than those in rich white neighborhoods Reported high. Unlike white dwellings called "green zones," black dwellings named "red zones" have fewer green spaces or parks, and pavements with low insulation effect are used for roads.

Gilpin resident Sparkle Veronica Taylor left the house with two children. "I had to walk 30 minutes across Richmond to a park in a rich neighborhood to get away from the heat and provide a play area for the children." Taylor said, "When I get to the park because I'm exhausted, I'm shocked to see how green the space is."

In Richmond, the heat of over 32.2 degrees lasts an average of 43 days. It is estimated that the hot period will double by 2089. In the United States, heat kills 12,000 people a year. Patients with cardiac arrest and respiratory diseases such as asthma can increase. Every 1 degree rise in temperature during a heat wave increases the risk of death by 2.5%. However, global warming does not come equally from region to region. The people who are carried to a nearby emergency room with a fever are mostly black people living in the "red zone."

“Best” for whites and “Dangerous” for blacks

In the 1930s, the U.S. government implemented an aggressive racist policy, separating black and white settlements. While evaluating the living environment as a 4th grade, white dwellings were rated “best” and black dwellings were rated “dangerous”. At the time, the Richmond appraisal was sub-rated for certain areas because “black families sometimes walk around.” Some areas were downgraded because "the school for white children is in Black District 8, and black people pass by."

Blacks rated “risk” have been discriminated against by paying higher interest rates than whites in mortgage and credit loans. In 2017, 71.9% of whites bought a house, but only 41.8% of blacks had a house. The gap between black and white housing ownership widened from 28.1% in 2010 to 30.1% in 2017. The housing gap has also widened. The whites had the power to lobby the city government for tree-lined walkways and parks. The black section was slumbed. Explicit discrimination against black dwellings was banned by law only in the 1970s, but the distinction between "red zone" and "green zone" still persists for decades.

In Richmond, in particular, a highway built in 1958 stretched through the center. Thousands of black houses were demolished as the state built highways against residents. The remaining gilpin blacks were isolated. Community health official Cherel Thompson said Gilpin residents have higher rates of asthma, diabetes and blood pressure than other regions, and they are drinking smoke from nearby highways. "There are no hospitals or grocery stores near Gilpin, and there are no stores selling fresh produce."


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