Please email Ariana Hernandez-Colmenares for the zoom link at email@example.com
Polluting Black Space
Physical space has been and remains a tool for maintaining racial hierarchy, resulting in a range of different kinds of physical spaces being imbued with racial meaning (e.g., Black inner-cities, White suburbs). Accordingly, racial stereotype content extends beyond personal attributes to physical space characteristics (e.g., Black areas are impoverished, White areas are wealthy). The mere presence of people activates these space-focused racial stereotypes, guiding perceptions and evaluations of physical space. For example, people more often assume lower quality amenities when a neighborhood is Black (vs. White), which leads them to be less willing to visit the neighborhood, monetarily devalue a house there, and provide less environmental protection for the surrounding area. These processes occur for both middle-class and lower-class neighborhoods, and even when accounting for negative attitudes toward and stereotypes about Black people. Using a critical race psychology framework, I will (1) detail both quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence for these ties between race and physical space, (2) discuss implications for persistent racial disparities in wealth, health, and environmental pollution exposure, and (3) provide my insights on strategies for change via social justice education and civil rights law. Taken together, my work provides evidence that race extends beyond the human body to our surrounding physical environments, highlighting how both historical and contemporary forms of systemic racism involve an interplay between individual, institutional, and structural level racial biases. These biases have made and continue to make physical spaces, in addition to people, targets of racial stereotyping and discrimination.