Race

'Social Justice' in a Pandemic

Some Democrats are bent on fomenting racial divisions over the spread of COVID-19.

Nate Jackson · Apr. 6, 2020

America is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic meltdown caused by shutting everything down. It’s affecting every American in some way, and we’ll need to unite to get through it. The worst may be yet to come.

“This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly,” said U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams over the weekend. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment. Only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country.”

Unfortunately, unity is not exactly this nation’s strong suit in recent years. Some are trying to fit the round peg of COVID-19 into the square hole of social justice.

“COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities,” complained Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions. Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.”

This is, of course, in line with the Democrats’ view that the current crisis is a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” But it’s also an extension of their view that America is such a racist backwater that even equal-opportunity viruses actually target minorities.

It does seem to be true that, at least in some areas, blacks are contracting and dying of COVID-19 at a higher rate. According to ProPublica, “As of Friday morning, African Americans made up almost half of Milwaukee County’s 945 cases and 81% of its 27 deaths in a county whose population is 26% black. Milwaukee is one of the few places in the United States that is tracking the racial breakdown of people who have been infected by the novel coronavirus, offering a glimpse at the disproportionate destruction it is inflicting on black communities nationwide.”

But the numbers don’t tell the whole tale. In fact, ProPublica’s story inadvertently draws attention to something that might be a bigger factor than race. “Louisiana has not published case breakdowns by race, but 40% of the state’s deaths have happened in Orleans Parish, where the majority of residents are black.”

When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, residents of New Orleans declined to observe evacuation orders, evidently believing that, no matter what transpired, government would come to their aid — as it does on a daily basis. The resulting death toll there was terrible.

Could it be that the inner-city communities around the country — where populations disproportionately depend on government checks, government food stamps, and government housing — are simply not complying with warnings or protocols regarding the current pandemic? In other words, rather than a failure of social justice, is it a failure to abide by social distancing?

It’s beyond troubling that when so many Americans of every color are legitimately suffering, Democrats are so focused on scoring cheap political points by dividing us.

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