Are We All Flint?

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Contributed date

January 30, 2020 - 4:05pm

Critical Commentary

Toxicity as infrastructure, as placed and moved, managed and inflicted on certain gorups over others, embedded in a history of dastardly treatment of those who cannot afford to not be intoxicated, whether it is owning a home or access to water that does not contain or release lead. Toxicity as responsibilized citizens and disinvestment. Toxicity as ingested by children...are children responsibilized? They navigate the world differently than adults, and thus are rendered even more exposed. So Fennell asks a vital question in this article: "If 'We are all Flint' is a rallying cry, exactly who and for what does it rally?" She goes on to argue that "we" are not all impacted equally the same by toxins. The toxicity of lead presents itself in more than water, it's in the housing, another form of infrastructure that she argues is not talked about enough yet also toxic. Thus, there is no "we" that is equally impacted by toxins: "while 'we' might all be at risk for ingesting toxins, some of us can spit back the lead soup that leaches from 'our' pipes, even as others must swallow the lead dust that flakes off 'our' walls." Yet unlike the toxicity of water, that of housing does not set off a public health emergency. This toxicity is accepted as is: unlike water, housing is not considered a public good, and thus does not warrant attention.

Group Audience

  • - Private group -

Cite as

Anonymous, "Are We All Flint?", contributed by Isabelle Soifer, Center for Ethnography, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 30 January 2020, accessed 25 September 2021.