Flint's urban renewal program turned Black homeowners into public housing tenants, and no long-term assistance was at hand to recompense their loss of wealth. Rather, they were met with a hardening of the city's color line. Like cigarettes, American state policies are hazardous to Black health. When used as directed, they cause harm.
How would you feel if you realized your children's water was being poisoned, and your government didn't seem to care? That's the story of the parents of 8,000 mostly poor and black children in Flint, Mich., that has finally hit our media front pages. The fact that most Americans realize this would never happen in affluent white Michigan suburbs (or any other white affluent communities in our country), still doesn't penetrate our very souls. This fundamental contrast between black and white experiences in Michigan, just north of my hometown of Detroit, points to the structural racism that is still the primary moral contradiction of American life.
If you want to help Flint, sign the petition, demand that the federal government take action, and then get involved yourself, wherever you live, so that this doesn't happen to you -- and so that the people we elect know they can no longer break the law as they rule by indifference. We deserve much better than this.