Weeks ago, when data began to show how the coronavirus was impacting communities of color politicians (including the U.S. Attorney General), the media, and even celebrities (like Tyler Perry) pleaded with the black & latino public to just stay home.
The implication in their pleads suggested that these communities were ignoring social distancing and disregarding the quarantine. Yes, there were cases where community members kept going to church or refused to stay indoors. This was especially prominent in Ohio, Louisiana, and Florida as reported by Bloomberg.
However, taking a handful of these cases and induce that this is the reason the coronavirus is ravaging these communities is not only spurious (aka invalid line of reasoning) but more importantly it is dangerous.
Here is why this is a problem
This leads the public to believe that specific groups are more at-risk for the wrong reasons while ignoring actual variables that may have an impact on why these communities are more at-risk. to say it plain and simple –evangelizing the argument that POC do not listen further encourages systematic racism because it ignores the fact that poor housing issues, environmental racism, and workforce issues are at play here.
Let’s consider the data for NYC (% by borough pictured above) —where it shows us that the South Bronx was hit the hardest. Perhaps, this is because this area has the highest rate of asthma in the country due to the highways that were built in the 70’s (Robert Moses era). For a community rattled with asthma, a respiratory infection could be lethal.
The researchers working to shift this narrative
We also want to share an article published by The Atlantic that digs a little bit deeper into this problem with a data-driven approach.
Do you know of more articles that dig deeper into the data? Drop those articles in the comment below.