Note: This thread is related to #Coronavirus #COVID19

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Rhea Boyd MD, MPH+ Your Authors @RheaBoydMD A pediatrician and hopeful participant in democracy. Trying to do the right thing by the children of the world, one day at a time. Jun. 26, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

One of the most insidious and harmful consequences of Anti-Black Racism is that it separates Black people outside of the mutuality central to the concept of “the public.”

Let me explain. Short thread.

Anti-Black Racism manifests in forms of physical separation or segregation, social and economic exclusion, interpersonal and institutional discrimination, and violence - each of which compound to make Black folks’ needs *appear* distinct from everyone else’s.

Separating Black folks outside of those deemed “the public” is how institutions that exact outsized harms, violence and indignities against Black people, like police, are considered pillars of “public” safety. That idea only works if Black people are excluded from “the public.”

Similarly, politicizing wearing masks during a pandemic known to exacerbate long-standing racial health inequities also works to exclude Black people from those deemed worthy of the protection of “public“ health measures.

The efficacy of public health measures (like vaccines, masking and distancing) depends on everyone participating.

Everyone contributes and everyone benefits.

Excluding Black people from collective notions of “the public” erodes the mutuality essential to public health.

But here’s the thing.

Anti-Black racism is ultimately a distortion of our mutual human dependence.

It works to dehumanize Black people and remove them from conceptions of “the public.”

And while that process disproportionately harms Black folks, it is a threat to *everyone*

Because remember, while police surveillance and brutality disproportionately harms Black folks, you only need to watch the most recent protests to literally witness police hurt folks of all backgrounds including journalists, the elderly, women and children.

And while Black people have the highest COVID-19 mortality rates (more than 2 *times* any other racial or ethnic group), the pandemic has killed a devastating number of white folks, including those in the 9 states where white deaths outsize their share of the population.

Here’s my final two points:

1. Anti-Black Racism excludes Black people from “the public” and thus from the benefits of the public systems on which EVERYONE relies.

2. The consequence is that risk becomes racialized and assigned to Black people.

This distorts shared burdens and assumes (and ensures) shared harms mostly hurt Black people.

But racism, and the violence and scarcity it generates at a population-level, hurts EVERYONE.

You can follow @RheaBoydMD.


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