Over the course of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, there has been a lot of fear within communities of color.
It comes as no surprise that communities of color, such as Black communities, historically are hit the hardest when it comes to economic and environmental hardships. Health professional Jamila Taylor writes in her 2019 article for The Century Foundation “Racism, Inequality, and Health Care for African Americans”, that “social factors, including economic disadvantage, inequalities in education, and lack of access to health care, impact a person’s ability to lead a healthy and productive life. For people in American society that experience racism and inequality in their daily lives, and throughout the lifespan, the impact of social factors on health are the most grave.”
Environmental racism goes beyond just poor access to healthy nutritional value and education disparities. A group of people’s poor livelihood is the poster child of environmental racism. Population control is the poster child of environmental racism. Anytime a community’s ability to access the will to live is compromised, the motives behind these actions become questionable and suspicious.
Some food for thought: how many COVID-19 cases in the United States have been African American? Where is that data located? Do all African American communities have access to that data? Are there specific federal initiatives with an emphasis on helping African American communities during this time of crisis? Do all African American communities have access to that information? If any of the questions were preceded with pause, environmental racism and health disparities are deeply embedded than one may realize.
As key policymakers acting as subject matter experts continue to debate and investigate the casualties surrounding COVID-19, community conversations across the country are being held to determine what the role that the community will play. No one likes to be on opposing sides when a line is drawn. However, this begs the question of choosing whether to be on the opposing sides of a discussion or opposing sides of an operation table.