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U. Oregon professor to lecture on ‘surplus’ white nationalism and its ‘climate obstruction’

This coming Thursday, University of Oregon geography professor Laura Pulido will give a talk on her belief that so-called “surplus” white nationalism is behind current efforts to hinder progress on climate change.

According to the event description, Pulido will incorporate “three historical moments” — the Tea Party, Donald Trump’s presidency, and the “war on ‘wokeness’” — into the thesis.

For the professor, who according to her faculty page “works at the intersection of geography and critical ethnic studies, especially Chicanx Studies,” surplus white nationalism is defined as “the excessive energy and power of white nationalism that cannot be contained or selectively controlled [which] spills over onto seemingly unrelated areas with sometimes unanticipated consequence.”

Pulido (pictured) contends this racial component is part of the GOP’s climate obstruction — that its actions go beyond just doing the bidding of fossil fuel companies.

Pulido’s lecture likely is related to her current work surrounding “hegemonic forms of racism and nationalism – especially around climate change and cultural memory.”

In 2019, Pulido and three other academics published the paper “Environmental Deregulation, Spectacular Racism, and White Nationalism in the Trump Era” which argues the 45th president’s “spectacular racism” obscured his (alleged) negative moves on the environment.

MORE: U. Hawaii indigenous lecturer explains the racism of environmentalists saving sea life

The very first page of the report states “A hallmark of the Trump era (defined as his campaign and presidency) is his use of transgressive racism, such as declaring Mexicans rapists and introducing a Muslim ban” — neither of which are true. (The latter gets referenced several times in the report.)

Specific instances of environmental injustice are hard to come by in the paper; more often, readers are treated to critical theory-style generalities such as “For Indigenous people, we view environmental actions themselves as violence against colonized people, as it is their land that is being appropriated and degraded …”

A separate spreadsheet offers more concrete environmental data from the Trump years, but only hardcore progressives would consider what are merely political policy differences — such as an announcement of the Keystone Pipeline construction — as evidence of environmental injustice and/or racism.

In a 2016 interview, Pulido differentiated between “white supremacy” and “white privilege” with regards to the environment by noting the latter can manifest with a “shadow of unawareness.” For example, she didn’t think an LA-based battery smelting company’s “primary objective” was to “contaminate” people of color.

As noted on her UO faculty page, other publications by Pulido include “Reimagining the ‘Justice’ in Environment Justice: Radical Ecologies, Decolonial Thought, and the Black Radical Tradition,” “FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions on Being a Scholar/Activist,” and “Geographies of Race and Ethnicity III: Settler Colonialism and Nonnative People.”

MORE: Biologists: Systemic racism harms birds, mammals, reptiles living in urban areas

IMAGE: U. Oregon

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.