Image 01 Image 03

LA Times Writer Slammed for Racist Claims that White Drivers are ‘Polluting the Air’ of ‘People of Color’

LA Times Writer Slammed for Racist Claims that White Drivers are ‘Polluting the Air’ of ‘People of Color’

Article is a perfect amalgam of racism and pseudoscience.

A writer for the Los Angeles Times is getting substantial backlash for claiming white drivers are ‘polluting the air’ breathed by black and Latino residents.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Sammy Roth is the Energy Reporter for the outlet. In his piece, Roth cited a study that completely ignores economics and history and called the city’s freeway planning ‘racially motivated‘.

My colleague Terry Castleman wrote about the study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Urban Studies. The core finding is that for every 1% increase in miles driven to and from work by people who live in a particular part of L.A. County, there’s an estimated 0.62% decrease in the lung-damaging “fine particulate matter” to which those Angelenos are exposed.

How is that possible? I asked the study’s lead author, Geoff Boeing, a professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.

He told me it largely comes down to the shameful history of Los Angeles County’s low-income communities of color being torn apart to make way for freeways — a history that has been extensively documented by The Times. Today, many residents of the county’s whiter, more affluent neighborhoods — who were often able to keep highways out of their own backyards — commute to work through lower-income Black and Latino neighborhoods bisected by the 10, 110 and 105 freeways and more.

“It’s not like commuters are coming in and shopping in those communities, patronizing restaurants,” Boeing said. “They’re just driving through to get from one side of the city to the other.”

For those interested in reading the referenced pseudoscience, it is: Local inequities in the relative production of and exposure to vehicular air pollution in Los Angeles.

There is a lot of misinformation to unpack in this gem, so I will start by noting that this is a prime example of ideological capture of the sciences through “science” writers who do not have traditional science-based backgrounds.

A quick review of Roth’s LinkedIn profile shows he graduated from Columbia University with a degree in . . . Sustainable Development.

I majored in Sustainable Development and minored in American Studies, graduating cum laude. My coursework included environmental law, urban studies, energy development, geographic information systems and environmental economics. I reported and edited for the Columbia Daily Spectator, and I worked on water conservation projects for the Columbia Aquanauts, an interdisciplinary water club.

Without a stronger background in questioning assertions and challenging hypotheses, certain elements are not considered. For example, are the patterns of freeway use perhaps more driven by socioeconomic factors rather than race?

Roth also seems completely unaware of the very positive trends in air pollution, which has been steadily declining since the institution of the original (and, at the time, reasonable) air pollution control regulations.

Nationally, concentrations of air pollutants have dropped significantly since 1990:

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) 8-Hour, 78%
  • Lead (Pb) 3-Month Average, 85% (from 2010)
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Annual, 59%
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) 1-Hour, 51%
  • Ozone (O3) 8-Hour, 25%
  • Particulate Matter 10 microns (PM10) 24-Hour, 46%
  • Particulate Matter 2.5 microns (PM2.5) Annual, 43% (from 2000)
  • Particulate Matter 2.5 microns (PM2.5) 24-Hour, 44% (from 2000)
  • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) 1-Hour, 90%
  • Numerous air toxics have declined with percentages varying by pollutant

During this same period, the U.S. economy continued to grow, Americans drove more miles, and population and energy use increased.

Interestingly, Los Angeles did achieve recognition for having “some of the cleanest air of any major city in the world” in 2020 due to the covid lockdowns.

But with the city – and the entire state of California – under stay-at-home orders to stem the deadly outbreak of coronavirus, something dramatic has happened to the air in LA.

Yesterday, LA saw some of the cleanest air of any major city in the world, according to IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company which also monitors pollution levels in cities around the globe.

While locking down the entire city isn’t sensible, nor are the alternatives proposed by Roth (e.g., electric vehicles, working from home) likely to accomplish anything to help poorer communities of any race prosper.

Los Angeles struggles with air quality because it resides in a basin, which traps and concentrates contaminants. This is a fact that a more science-based approach would have taken into consideration in any analysis, rather that making race-based assertions.

Which brings me to the most troubling point of the piffle the Los Angles Times allowed to be published in the name of science. Communications Director for the Claremont Institute Nick Short summed it up best:

I will note that it is still early in 2023, so we will likely see other racialist screeds that may dethrone this chestnut.

However, Roth’s piece will remain the perfect amalgam of racism and pseudoscience.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


DIEversity and twilight faith. Throw another baby… fetal-baby on the barbie, it’s over, maybe, baby.

I think Sammy has a very bright future as a contributor to CNN, NPR, MSNBC and the Babylon Bee!

white people. what CAN”T we be blamed for….

E Howard Hunt | March 11, 2023 at 10:20 am

Now I understand why the brothers commit so much carjacking. The are environmental, remediation engineers.

E Howard Hunt | March 11, 2023 at 10:20 am

Now I understand why the brothers commit so much carjacking. They are environmental, remediation engineers.

The problem lies at the end of a lie. That is why the truth is avoided by the black man.
There is your actual racism….lying.

Somewhere else it was written he came from “privilege” in the LA area including high school as well as getting his multiple Columbia degrees. Sadly, this just shows how the DEI cult has overtaken and corrupted every aspect of education. Science and centuries of academic rigor are now secondary to the faith. Even “peers” allow increasingly useless “studies” in journals at an alarming rate these days. They don’t insist on the rigor, nor do they allow such shoddy work to be subjected to questioning – another centuries old staple of academic integrity.

Sooooo being contained inside a car with the vents closed is less harmful than walking past a lot of running cars. Gee, who would have thought that? This article could be helpful though. Maybe they can design cars that expel the emissions into the car instead of outside the car and into the minority populations noses.

    MajorWood in reply to jepcop. | March 11, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    IIRC there was a town in Japan where they discovered that their air coming out of a Prius exhaust was actually cleaner than that going into the engine. What I find interesting is when a 70’s pre-emission control vehicle rolls past me and one can literally smell the gas fumes coing out the pipe. I guess we didn’t notice it as much back then as our sensory systems had accomodated to the odors, but now it really stands out, assuming that you aren’t near any stoners who are off-gassing.

    I do wonder about urban exposure to lead from internal combustion engines. I don’t think it is an issue since the subjects in question appear to be no more stupid than their contemporaries who have lived lead-free lives, well, airborne lead from vehicles. From other sources, they seem to have way more exposure these days, of their own doing, mind you.

      henrybowman in reply to MajorWood. | March 11, 2023 at 5:37 pm

      There hasn’t been lead in automotive fuel since 1996, or any new vehicles requiring leaded fuel since 1986.

      A Florida State/Duke study claims that leaded gas stunted the IQ of half the US population, estimating six IQ points per victim overall during its heyday 1960-1986.

      And yet, I can’t remember anyone back then (other than a handful of cranks) seriously claiming that dressing up as a girl made a man a woman; that the solution to racial inequities was to impose different racial inequities; or that the route to universal prosperity ran only through socialism.

      Maybe we actually need to bring leaded gas back.

“Sustainable Development and minored in American Studies, graduating cum laude.”

Examples of majors created specifically to accommodate Affirmative dullards like Sammy Roth. Routing foe Xways would have been primarily driven by efficiency of the route, and cost of the land.

Can we ship Sammy Roth off to Liberia?

It’s amazing these people cannot see their foolishness.

It was so refreshing to see Taibbi and Shellenberger actually laugh at the fools.

DEI and the rest of that garbage are on the road to widespread ridicule. It really has created a class of idiots, people in perpetual fear, pretending to be the smart ones with the right to tell others how they may live.

This sounds like a faculty lounge wager. The academic challenge is to find some relationship between air pollution and white privilege. Nevermind that it’s junk science, academia will support anything that sounds like diversity.

Trains always go through the bad parts of town. It’s mysterious.

    healthguyfsu in reply to rhhardin. | March 11, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    Because train tracks are built in the more transient, poorer communities. The property is easy to acquire for its low cost and high level of turnover. Also, the residents are more likely to benefit from public transit in that area since there are fewer with their own vehicles.

    There’s no conspiracy. It’s just economics.

      CommoChief in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 11, 2023 at 3:01 pm

      I wouldn’t say that the history of the RR development and expansion in the US was free of ‘conspiracy’. There were plenty of shenanigans in where the tracks were laid, not to the degree this fool is claiming in his LA Times piece but still.

        Indeed, indeed….let us query the WHITE/Non-Irish residents of Rock Ridge about this situation…and we should also consult the famous case of Haley vs. US, which had the final score of Haley 7, US Nothing.

      henrybowman in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 11, 2023 at 5:39 pm

      I suspect his point is that the trains were there first, the rest of the town grew around them in a very predictable fashion.

The Gentle Grizzly | March 11, 2023 at 12:07 pm

He looks like that character from “The Wire” that slept in his sister’s basement.

I’m sure the air in his ancestral country is still pure and sweet. Why stay here? Breathe deeply in the Old Country, and try not to catch a stray bullet.

I’m afraid that at some point morons like this will just have to be beaten senseless until they learn to STFU. We should have never let them crawl out from under their rocks and seize the microphone.

Drivel such as this is just corrosive to society and really should not be tolerated.

    henrybowman in reply to Paul. | March 11, 2023 at 5:42 pm

    Everybody is allowed the microphone. It’s the only way the rest of us have to know who to avoid. (Well, that and the tattoos, facial hardware, and danger hair.)

Will this impact the ability of LA to support all the illegal immigrants they will attract under the proposed sanctuary laws? Those homeless industrial complex NGO’s have lots of grifting white leftists on staff and they are probably going to be driving.

    Milhouse in reply to CommoChief. | March 13, 2023 at 3:08 am

    More of this nonsense? Making LA’s sanctuary status a city law will NOT attract even one more illegal immigrant than the city is already attracting.

Subotai Bahadur | March 11, 2023 at 3:44 pm

There is one obvious solution, and actually it seems to be in progress. As companies and working people move out of California, and as banks fail taking down more companies; there will be fewer and fewer people working. Therefore there will be fewer and fewer people commuting to work. The air will clear, and the remaining people will probably starve. An ideal Leftist solution.

Subotai Bahadur

    But, . . . but, . . . who will pay the Reparations!?!

    alaskabob in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | March 11, 2023 at 5:19 pm

    And as the city becomes an economic desert and more crime ridden, less people will be venturing into the city. The air will have less particulates but the smell of decay will be in the air. We should demand that the LA Times staff live in downtown LA. Also, require that of the administration. Say… in Watts maybe.

Poor Sammy, he’s a MORON.

LeftWingLock | March 11, 2023 at 7:26 pm

The solution, of course, is simple. California needs to pass a law requiring all white people and white owned businesses to move out of state. Only then can California truly prosper. Problem solved. You’re welcome.

You’ve got to give Sammy Roth credit. He’s a prospector for the Grievance Industry and he’s digging deep. Now that’s “Science”.

The Wrong Side of the Tracks. When railroad engineers would lay out towns they didn’t want people crossing the tracks and interfering with the trains, so they would site the track on the edge of town.

How odd. I majored in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and had courses in history, English, environmental studies, Spanish and others so I guess I’m at least as qualified as that douche weasel in throwing a giant flag on whatever that guy posts as nonsense.