A black student “collective” from the University of California, Berkeley, blasted “environmental racism” and the expectation of “full, dazzling resumes” to join organizations in the campus environmental community.
Berkeley’s Students of Color Environmental Collective instructed the community to do research on being a “better ally,” prioritizing “racial justice,” and to stop teaching blacks how to be sustainable, asserting that whites learned that from blacks. The group published the demands alongside a letter on the school’s Student Environmental Resource Center site.
“Put racial justice at the forefront of your agenda,” instructs the black collective, before insisting that environmental justice could not exist without racial injustice and that “fighting one injustice means fighting them all.”
“Do your research on how to be a better ally,” commands the group. “Understand what microaggressions are, what cultural appropriation is, and how remaining silent places you on the side of the oppressor. Do not expect people of color to emotionally, mentally, and physically labor to educate you because you lack sensitivity to our cultures.”
Expecting students to pay money to participate in an event or possess “full, dazzling resumes” to gain membership of an organization is listed as another impediment to “marginalized” students.
“You do not need to ‘teach’ us to be sustainable,” explains the black collective in another demand. “Rather, you learned it from us. You need to be mindful of this.”
Berkeley Students of Color Environmental Collective justifies the demands in an accompanying letter.
“The whiteness of environmentalism today is deeply rooted in the racist, sexist, colonial history of the movement,” argues the group. “Our communities often lack the education, resources, or political power to address the environmental conditions that hurt us. We are often denied access to natural landscapes by economic and structural barriers, and this affects our personal physical, mental, and emotional health. This is called environmental racism.”
The black student collective next addressed the representation of blacks among the Berkeley faculty.
“When the few existing professors of color are denied tenure, we are fed the message that we do not matter and will not ever be the leaders in conservation, environmental policy, or resource management,” said the group. “This academic institution does not validate our existence, our power nor our unique knowledge in environmental dialogue.”
The Berkeley student organization members complained that they have experienced tokenization, cultural appropriation, microaggressions, and racism from environmental organizations.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the Berkeley Students of Color Environmental Collective for comment regarding alleged incidents of environmental racism on campus, but received no response at the time of publication.
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