The Naysayers…don’t tell the truth
Let’s talk about Flint, dosage Michigan! The population of Flint is 56.6% Black or African American and 35.7% white (non-Hispanic or Latino). The median income for Flint is $24,834 and 41.6% of the population live below the poverty line as compared to 14.8% nationwide (US Census, 2013). Flint, Michigan is in crisis right now, not due to the serious economic conditions, lack of employment and under-employment it faces, but a far more critical concern faces the city. The residents of Flint have been poisoned by the water that they have been using, drinking and bathing in for almost 2 years when the state decided to save money by switching Flint’s water supply from Lake Huron (which they were paying the City of Detroit for), to the Flint River, that is known by the people of Flint, to be notoriously filthy. In a cost-cutting measure, those responsible for promoting and overseeing the public health and safety of the residents of the state of Michigan intentionally ignored the immediate concerns of the residents of Flint, who made it known that the water looked bad, tasted bad and smelled bad. The blatant disregard, the apathetic underwhelming response, and the ardent insistence that the water of Flint was safe to drink (for almost 2 years) was an Executive decree that rests squarely on the shoulders of Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder.
What has happened to the residents of Flint, Michigan is criminal. The corrosive properties of the toxic water from the Flint River caused the lead pipes throughout the city’s water system to leak that lead into the water that Flint residents were assured was safe to drink. There is no level of lead that is deemed safe for human consumption. The effects of lead poisoning are irreversible and cause a multitude of extremely serious health issues, including brain damage. The effects of ingesting even small amounts of lead have devastating consequences, especially for children and pregnant women. The majority of the people of Flint are Black and poor. Their concerns about the water they were using were ignored and pushed aside as insignificant. Many residents were, patronizingly, told by government officials that what they were experiencing was false and without merit. “We” have everything under control and the water, “we” assure you, is safe. Basically, “we” are in charge and you don’t know what you are talking about! You must be imagining that the water is smelly, dirty and tastes bad. You all just need to trust that “we” know what “we” are doing, and “we” have your best interests in mind. All of which has now been proven to be an absolute LIE.
This is not the first time that Black people have been duped by those claiming to have our “best interests” in mind. We immediately recall the Tuskegee Experiment when the U.S. Public Health Service conducted an experiment on African American men where they “allowed” the natural progression of the syphilis disease to go untreated. The men involved in the clinical study from 1932 to 1972 were duped into participating under the auspices of receiving free health care from the United States government. The 40-year study, once exposed, prompted extreme changes in the ethical standards for medical experimentation and research conducted on human beings. The study victimized the men involved, but also their wives and children.
The Flint water crisis has the same questionable ethics, the same disregard for a marginalized population and the same type of institutionalized racism and classism that persists throughout the history of the United States of America. The “naysayers” continue to tell us that what we KNOW to be TRUE is false and that what we can SEE as false is TRUE? We SEE what has happened in Flint! If Flint were Bloomfield Hills, Michigan or Oakland County Michigan, this man-made water crisis would never have happened because the privileged have power that “others” do not. This case MUST be prosecuted. A crime has been committed whose consequences are yet to be fully uncovered.
Up Next Week: The Snow Job!