Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Ismael Muvingi

Third Advisor

Elena Bastidas


African Americans and environmental abuse, environmental hazards, environmental justice, environmental racism, minorities are disproportionately impacted by environmental inequities, racialized conflict


Environmental hazards, producing harmful toxins, are ubiquitous and have an effect on all Americans. In fact, approximately 90% of Americans have some type of harmful toxin in their bloodstream. Yet, race and class are the greatest predictors of exposure to toxins, with race being the greatest predictor. Noxious facilities are typically located in low-income minority neighborhoods creating a plethora of issues for already disadvantaged minority groups. Consequently, minorities are disproportionately impacted by environmental inequities because of environmental racism. Environmental racism is embedded into residential and social systems that are designed to disadvantage one group while providing privilege to another more dominant group. Racialized conflict over land use has both individual and group implications affecting the physical, emotional, intellectual, and financial well-being of its victims. While all minoritized groups are affected, African Americans are far worse off than their White counterparts. Utilizing the interview method, the goal of this study was to conduct an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the lived experiences of African Americans who were impacted by environmental racism. The researcher used critical race theory, human needs theory, and structural violence theory to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of the subject’s experiences and examine data from their first-hand account of how environmental abuse affected their lives. The purpose of this study was to inform public policy and provide the basis for future research in this area.

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