White Publishing Company

Enough (6.1.20)

40 million people filed for unemployment since mid-March. I'd bet a lot of money that a disproportionate number of those filing were minorities -- because the sectors where minorities work in disproportionate numbers were the ones shut down first. (https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/race-and-ethnicity/2018/home.htm)

A few weeks into the shutdowns, it became very clear that in big cities, minorities were dying from COVID-19 in hugely disproportionate numbers. (75 percent of deaths in DC, for example.) There could be a number of explanations for this; one very plausible one is that minorities hold a lot of "essential" jobs exposing them to the virus. They were out working so everyone else could stay home, and when they got sick they took it home to their families.

Economically, thousands of service sector businesses that employ so many minorities are on the verge of collapse, harming the employment prospects for those communities. Analysts seem to think that minority owned businesses are among the most threatened businesses. Those economic setbacks at least have the potential to harm minority communities for years to come, erasing recent gains widening income disparities along racial lines. (https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/social-sector/our-insights/covid-19s-effect-on-minority-owned-small-businesses-in-the-united-states)

Everyone has been suffering due to the virus, but minority communities have been getting crushed. And the response of tens of millions of people has been grudging acceptance of these facts, or willful igorance of them. Why? Because they didn't want THEIR families to get sick, and they morally shamed people who disagreed that it was a price worth paying. Maybe they didn't care as much because they couldn't see a video of millions of black people filing for unemployment, or watching black families get sick.

Political leaders in many big cities chose to ignore or downplay those facts, instead of having a frank and practical discussion about the horrible and lopsided consequences being dumped on minorities in the name of "shared sacrifice."

So imagine the shock of those who see their social media feeds filled up with people who suddenly want to let you know they're an "ally" -- and that public health is no longer their biggest concern. (Who cares about social distancing anymore! Shout and yell and stand next to each other! The people you later infect are worth sacrificing!)

Imagine the obliviousness of "Blackout Tuesday," where media companies and celebrities suddenly decide to go dark for a day to put on hair shirts and think about racism. These are the same companies and celebrities that ran with a million ads, PSAs and social media tweets telling everyone to "stay home" and "following the science," with no thought to the devastation of minority communities that they were inadvertently condoning.

Most of those people didn't care, or say anything meaningful, when systemic racism was obliterating the futures of millions of minorities for the last two months. They just wanted what THEY wanted, or what various politicians or news outlets told them to want. That they care now, enough to speak up, is seemingly arbitrary.

Or ignorant. Or hypocritical. With allies like that, who needs enemies?

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