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The Racism Within The Flint Water Crisis

Photo by: Jake May/AP

In April of 2014, Flint, Michigan, switched it’s water supply over to the Flint River instead of relying on water from Detroit’s water system. Residents immediately complained of yellowish-brown tap water that smelt bad and did not taste right. The government ignored them. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder did not take any action until fall of 2015. That’s over one whole year of residents complaining of unsafe tap water while being ignored by the government.

Residents in Flint, Michigan protested lead contamination in their water. Photo by: Jake May/AP

Michigan’s privileged, white, Republican governor – Rick Snyder – knew about the lead contamination in Flint’s water supply a year before any action was taken by the government. This begs the question of why: Why wasn’t this handled immediately?

Governor Rick Snyder takes seat during Flint water crisis hearing in Washington D.C. Photo by: Jake May/

Flint is a predominantly black city. 2010 census data states that 56.6% of Flint, Michigans residents are African-Americans. This answers the question of why this wasn’t handled immediately. It wasn’t handled immediately, or even batted a second look because it is a predominantly black city. It is not a rich, white suburb in Oakland county, Michigan – it’s Flint.

If you did not already know, Flint still does NOT have clean and usable tap water. It has been years since residents were able to safely use and drink tap water in Flint, Michigan… YEARS. The reason for this is absolutely clear – this is an oblivious act of racism against a predominately black city.

Residents in Flint, Michigan protesting lead contamination. Oct. 7, 2015. Photo by: Christian Randolph/

Residents in Flint, Michigan still rely off of bottled water to cook with, clean with, bathe with, and drink. Imagine living like that for just a few days… now imagine doing it for over three years.

Anthony Fordham picks up bottled water from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to deliver to a school after elevated lead levels were found in the city’s water in Flint, Michigan December 16, 2015. Photo by: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

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Antonio Del Otero
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Antonio is a 16-year-old social activist from Detroit, Michigan. He's been interviewed by ABC, NBC, and Univision for his social activism and outspoken disapproval of Trump. He is Cuban, Palestinian, and Jordanian.

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