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    • BillEnkey4 years ago

      Hopefully I'm not committing suicide here, but there are always numbers floating around with statements that just don't make sense to me. "Since the virus made landfall in the US, it has killed at least 20,000 black Americans." Before this statement was a claim that it has been disproportionate to the Black Community. (I'm taking for granted that the author is not lying about the number of deaths.) Now, depending on how one reads the demographics (it gets complicated, because there are the one race and multi race statistics against how people are categorized by race as they die), black Americans can account for anywhere from 15% to 24% of the population; and if 100,000 deaths have occurred, and about 20% of them are black Americans, how is that disproportionate? Now if it really is closer to 15%, then maybe it is; but it seems like the ratio of black Americans is actually closer to the 20% mark (black or African American being about 20% of the population). It's not good that deaths are happening at all; and even though I don't see it I have to know that racism is real. There are far too many people who have had bad experiences; and I've heard some of them. I do not like inequality, and any amount of injustice should be rectified as soon as possible. I just don't see the numbers relative to Corona virus deaths as a supporting theory to the prevalence of racism in America. Perhaps a more convincing argument would have been to compare the number of poor people deaths versus middle class versus the wealthier and wealthy; then compare that with the percentage of minorities who live in poorer neighborhoods versus the majority (white people, I guess?). Is the claim that the virus disproportionately affects poorer, more congested peoples true? I would think that that is true, and it makes sense, but a statement without proof is just that: a statement.

    • jbuchana4 years ago

      One epidemiologist has gone even further, arguing that the public health risks of not protesting for an end to systemic racism “greatly exceed the harms of the virus”.

      The climate-change-denying right is often ridiculed, correctly, for politicizing science. Yet the way the public health narrative around coronavirus has reversed itself overnight seems an awful lot like … politicizing science.

      I'd call it assesing priorities rather than politicizing science.

      • jeff4 years ago

        That may be a more accurate description, but I think it still highlights the same issue which is that the weight that policies rooted in science carry is decreased if we're collectively acknowledging that at any time the data can be ignored due to a sufficiently widespread shift in public opinion.

        • SEnkey4 years ago

          Agreed. This point was made to me when I was telling a pro Trump friend of mine how ridiculous and unsafe it was that he was starting his rallies up. He then asked me if I was support the protests, well yes - I am. And that is when it hit me, I haven't really been consistent on this. If it is a danger, it cuts both ways.

          • momoprobs4 years ago

            I think there is a major difference between a political rally, which happens as a matter of course during an election, and a protest that seems to be a once-in-a-generation moment. Imagine telling MLK to hold off on his work due to a pandemic. My guess is his response would amount to "we've been waiting for this for too long to let a virus stop us."

            While we don't know what will happen with this particular virus, viruses of the past have been shown to be temporary. Temporary can be relative. 4 years is "temporary" when you zoom out long enough (at least that's what I tell myself during this administration). Weighing that against a history of 400 years of racism? I get the choice.

            Both of those are about personal choice to participate. As far as policy goes, I don't recall any of the protests against the lockdown being disbanded. People may have criticized them, but no policy was enacted to shut them down. I think it's important to distinguish between hypocritical criticism (which let's be real, all criticism is fairly unproductive. No one learns from criticism), and claiming that THAT is the cause for a decrease in respect of science.

            • jeff4 years ago

              I agree with pretty much everything you said, but the biggest issue for me is the selective enforcement of orders that restrict our constitutional right of assembly. People shouldn't be prevented from gathering unless the cause is deemed worthy enough by some governor or other public official (no matter how worthy it may be!). Equal enforcement of the law is part of what these protests are all about.

              In my state several people at least were charged with violating the emergency orders after organizing protests in front of government buildings: N.J. lockdown protest organizer faces charge she violated coronavirus ban on gatherings

              • momoprobs4 years ago

                Gotcha, hadn't read about those charges. If those same folks are choosing not to prosecute protestors, then I definitely agree about the hypocrisy and would hope they would choose to drop both charges.

                • SEnkey4 years ago

                  All good points Momoprobs! I think my point is more about how I didn't recognize that I was having a double standard. You made the point well saying 'I recognize the danger, but it is worth it to me', I was just saying Trump rallies are dumb because of the virus, not recognizing that the virus is at play with protest as well. I think more people fall into my category than yours.

                  One more small point. We should act to do all we can to end racism, end inequality, and deliver a better world. But, deep down we all know that a year from now racism will still exist. The disease experts that are saying 'this is worth it to end racism or fight racism' are begging the question, will it end racism? Sadly, no. That still doesn't mean we shouldn't protest, and that we shouldn't make the best arguments for doing it now, but the experts should probably stick to their fields - because next year we are going to need everyone to listen when they tell us we need to lock down again.

    • jamie4 years ago

      WTF. !!!

      • sjwoo4 years ago

        This country of ours is in so much trouble. So much trouble.

    • Florian4 years ago

      This is exactly what confuses my brain so much:

      Two weeks ago we shamed people for being in the street; today we shame them for not being in the street.

      • momoprobs4 years ago

        I think saying "we shame people for not being in the streets" is a stretch. There are people shaming others for not being in the streets, sure. But the major messaging I have seen is a call of "doing something" and a lot of people clarifying that there are many avenues for "doing something" that don't require being in the streets. Donating, calling politicians, cleaning debris after protests, in physically-distanced groups, educating yourself, etc.

        I think it's important to distinguish the shame we feel, vs the shame that is actually being sent our way.

    • SEnkey4 years ago

      Public health experts – as well as many mainstream commentators, plenty of whom in the beginning of the pandemic were already incoherent about the importance of face masks and stay-at-home orders – have hemorrhaged credibility and authority. This is not merely a short-term problem; it will constitute a crisis of trust going forward, when it may be all the more urgent to convince skeptical masses to submit to an unproven vaccine or to another round of crushing stay-at-home orders. Will anyone still listen?

      This is troubling. We need to be able to trust the experts.

      Seventy years ago Camus showed us that the human condition itself amounts to a plague-like emergency – we are only ever managing our losses, striving for dignity in the process. Risk and safety are relative notions and never strictly objective. However, there is one inconvenient truth that cannot be disputed: more black Americans have been killed by three months of coronavirus than the number who have been killed by cops and vigilantes since the turn of the millennium. We may or may not be willing to accept that brutal calculus, but we are obligated, at the very least, to be honest.

      Powerful quote. I do think the more we've learned about the virus (if it is true) means that we probably need to update our policies. The outdoor gatherings are probably okay? For everyone?