The Flint Water Crisis: Racism Or Incompetence?

Monday, January 25, 2016

In 2014, state officials decided to change the water supply in the city of Flint, Michigan from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a way to save money.  Up until then, Flint paid Detroit to have access to Lake Huron. 

According to reports, shortly after the switch, residents started to complain that the water tasted, smelled, and looked funny.  Although the water was discolored, residents were told by city and state officials that everything was fine.

The problem had been attributed to the extremely high levels of iron in the Flint River which is what caused the water to turn brown.  It gets worse.  Apparently, the river was not properly treated with an anti-corrosive agent so the water eroded the iron water mains and due to a majority of homes having lead service lines, it allowed for lead to seep into the water supply along with the iron potentially poisoning the over 100,000 Flint residents.

Some people have made accusations that race played a role in all of this because Flint has a predominately Black population.

I am going to take the road less traveled.  It is my opinion that America has once again witnessed incompetence in its clearest form.  It is no secret the state of Michigan has had its share of problems throughout the years.  In 2013, Detroit filed for bankruptcy which was practically unheard of at the time and Flint was in a state of financial emergency from 2011 to 2015.  So I find it to be somewhat plausible that in an effort to save money they made the rash and impulsive decision to switch the water supply in Flint without taking the necessary precautions to ensure that the water would be safe.

I am not defending the actions or decisions of the state officials because it was their responsibility to do their due diligence to ensure the safety of the residents and they simply failed.  Those state officials did not professionally nor ethically perform their job and unfortunately it has caused major, irreparable damage for possibly generations to come.

The reason I chose not to write from a racial aspect is because I want whoever reads this to view the landscape through a different lens.  I am concerned for the residents of Flint and I am glad that they have been receiving bottled water from various sources, but as Americans we need to be asking ourselves, if something like this can happen in Flint, can it happen in my city too?

Thanks for reading!
(John 3:16)


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