Friday, September 15, 2006

African Americans & Nuclear Power: Similar Prejudice

The prejudice against nuclear power is similar to the prejudice against blacks. Blacks have worked hard for centuries but are stereotyped as being lazy. Nuclear power provides emission free electricity to one out of every five Americans 24-7 and is considered to be a dysfunctional technology. Just seeing blacks is offensive to some people (note living patterns). Just seeing a cooling tower offends some people (even though the actual reactor is inside a containment dome). Nuclear power performs miraculously (engineers like to say a 95% capacity factor), yet one little slip at Three Mile Island almost 30 years ago is still held against it. Blacks exhibit miraculous patriotism to a country that has been extremely hostile for most of its history. And the violence of the dysfunctional tenth in the black community is associated with all blacks (to a certain degree).

Nuclear power gets virtually no credit for the tremendous service it provides to the nation. Blacks never get credit for helping to make America the most powerful nation on the planet. Nuclear power is portrayed as evil and the industry that runs it as ill-intentioned. Blacks are stereotyped as being violent and undisciplined. Prejudice is based on ignorance. Maybe one day nuclear power and blacks will be understood, accepted and their contributions a seamless part of our socieity.

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