Letter: COVID-19 and race

Published: 5/6/2020 12:01:57 AM

The COVID-19 outbreak has revealed the incongruencies between the treatment of white and non-white individuals. This is highlighted by virus reports that delineate between communities of color and white communities, and the reaction from law enforcement and government leadership to armed protests on state capitals across the country.

The COVID-19 data from New Hampshire – the state criticized for holding the first-in-the-nation primary because of its lack of representation of the U.S population – even illustrates racial disparities. Moreover, Gov. Chris Sununu’s negligence for not doing more to support non-white communities being disproportionately affected is despicable. Yet, this is not the only example of a lack of accountability.

The state and the federal government do more to allow white people to protest safety than they do to protect people of color from dying. The white individuals dressed in masks, yielding automatic weapons, are the archetype of white privilege. The issues that are fought for every day, from combating mass incarceration to expanding health care, the fallout from COVID-19 magnifies how these preserve a culture of white supremacy. COVID-19 spreading in prison facilities demonstrates how the criminal justice system’s incomparable numbers of incarcerated non-white to white people creates another level of cruel and unusual punishment for those perpetually marginalized.

While I would be remiss to not acknowledge the innumerable other instances of systemic discrimination, the COVID-19 outbreak is a clear litmus test that this country needs a lot of work to create a more equitable and just society.




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