The Makings of a Scapegoat
Recently it was announced that the first COVID-19 vaccine trials had begun taking place in South Africa and in Brazil, and I almost busted a gasket at the realization that Black people the world over had once again be used as medical buffers for White people.
The “duping” began very early in the coronavirus crisis, when memes and news articles from unreputable outlets seemed to proliferate the social media with articles claiming to quote an official regarding the immunity of Black people to COVID.
From there, the meandering rollercoaster of misinformation then tipped in the opposite direction, saying that Black people were actually MORE susceptible to COVID due to “underlying conditions”, such as heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes and smoking.
From the very beginning of the crisis, a student of history could see how the African American community would be hardest hit from a statistical perspective.
Back in March, The Shadow League published an article titled “As Usual: Blacks on the Frontlines of COVID Fight”. In the article I posit that the types of jobs the African American working-class have should also be taken into consideration regarding early high numbers among American Black folk.
To me, it seemed like a logical surmising of the statistics at hand. However, as is the case with almost every domestic malady in society, both contemporary and ongoing, the majority will scapegoat a vulnerable segment of the population and blame them.
As of March 26, there were hundreds of NYPD officers who tested positive for coronavirus.
As of today, there are dozens MTA workers who test positive, as well more educators. By fate, the grisly toll will only be revealed to us in the end. Because of occupation, because of strained finances and the lasting legacy of medical racism in America many Black and Brown people are at their wits end regarding what the future holds.
From the Romany or “Gypsies” arrival in Eurasian in the 14th century, to multiple Hasidic persecutions throughout the 9th century in Medieval Europe, and today’s Black folks in America goes the “privilege” of being a Calvinism scapegoat for all the ills of the greater populous.
During the 80s and late 90s, when the idiocy of calling it a “gay” disease became apparent in the increased deaths of Black and Brown heterosexual women and men, the powers that be then began framing it as a morality issues that placed the blame upon the victims instead of the poor public health response from the Oval Office.
In much the same manner, the resurging COVID numbers that began trickling upward early this month, news organization would show photographs and video of mostly young Black people gathered, partied and street raced in locations like Atlanta, Baton Rouge and Miami, Florida.
Famous White People With Big Opinions
Not long afterwards came, mostly from the right via VP Mike Pence, came the knee jerk reaction that Black people were being irresponsible and the demographic upon which vaccine testing should take place.
There is a void of information that has been swept clean by a black hole of ignorance powered by the presence of a veritable doofus in the White House. Naturally, people will want to try to fill that void with what they believe they know. It’s a natural human inclination, really.
However, because she’s a famous person, and not necessarily because what she’s saying has merit. (It does, by the way.) Here’s what she said regarding demographics most in need for any eventual vaccine in an interview with TIME magazine earlier this month.
“The first people that need this vaccine are the 60 million health care workers around the world. They deserve to get it before anybody else. Then you start tiering.” After health care workers, Gates answered, “In the U.S., that would be black people next, quite honestly, and many other people of color. They are having disproportionate effects from COVID-19.”
America’s Medical Records
Indeed, it’s true that Black folk have been disproportionately affected by the virus, but ghosts of an American medical history past that are calling out to me. They’re reminding me of Tuskegee, electroshock treatments and brain surgery without anesthesia were common experiments. The horrific gynecological experiments of James Marion Sims on the living flesh of Black women and girls is the most recently revealed but by no means is it unique.
The lingering effects of age old medical racism that supposes Black people feel less pain than Whites, that closes hospitals in the hood, and in the fact that Black women die during child labor more often than White women.
Yes, Black people make up around 40% of coronavirus related deaths at this point, but with both Florida and Texas experiencing record numbers of COVID increase, and improved techniques to treat COVID, it is slightly alarming no one stopped and thought about how American history is the primary reason many Black folk would pass on any American COVID trials.
Our immune systems are no different than those of any of the over 33,000 new COVID cases reported this week, most of whom are from red states. Why don’t they run trials in Florida, Texas or Georgia, instead of Detroit, as was posed by the vice president?
Despite the news, the protests and the videos of Black folks in urban areas behaving as if COVID is a myth, none of this is our fault.
Coronavirus kills African Americans at twice the rate it kills Whites, this is true. But it’s through no lack of morality, intelligence or heartiness that this affliction affects us so, but through preexisting conditions like lack of medical insurance, lack of access to the best doctors, and a general disdain for Black life have far more to do with this grisly toll than anything else, in my opinion.
Again, the states that refused to accept the reality of COVID are largely White and conservative, with record daily numbers being recorded as I type. Wouldn’t it just be plain logic to administer any vaccine trial in the current hot zones first rather than go for the easy, historically racist “Let’s test the n*ggers” troupe?
I mean, numbers-wise, more white folks are gonna die of this than Black, despite our historic predisposition to it, because White folks love their “rugged American individualism”. Florida has had 141,075 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,419 deaths. Judging by the news from Florida, Texas and Arizona, all pro-Trump, these numbers are largely due to societal idiocy and the general absence of even the most rudimentary understanding of science by those in power.
How is that Black people’s fault? What part of that means we should willingly to submit to testing trials or mandatory vaccines?