It Should Be No Surprise

Apr 15, 2020

The recent spate of articles in our newspapers and statements from government officials expressing surprise and sometimes bafflement about the higher rates of COVID-19 infection and deaths from it in communities of color reflects a major blind spot among many journalists and politicians. The United States of America was founded on what some have called “our original birth defect,” racism. Racism was built into our constitution and laws and has resulted in decades upon decades of blatant, often violent and sometimes subtle oppression and discrimination. These decades of systemic racism are seen today in such aspects of life as food insecurity, lack of affordable and safe housing, lower per-pupil expenditures in schools, employment discrimination, and voter suppression. All of these are chronic stressors, filling bodies with toxic neurochemicals that form the basis of a myriad of chronic health problems with some studies showing that these health effects can be carried across generations. This is an important moment for all of us to come together to eradicate another virulent virus, one that kills the hearts and souls as well as the health of people, the virus of systemic racism.

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