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Institutionalized Racism Determines Who Lives and Who Dies in New York

by Tom Wiermann | Jan 7, 2022 | Lifestyle, Politics,

While recognizing racism still exists in some peoples’ hearts, most Americans believe the country is and has been headed in the right direction for many years, as evidenced by the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a slew of other laws which intend to place all peoples on the same playing field. Progressives, on the other hand, would argue the exact opposite. In their view, not only is racism alive and well, but it is still institutionalized and systemic. Movements like Black Lives Matter highlight what they believe to be the targeting of and brutality towards black people through police discrimination, societal norms, and the workplace.

For somebody like me, a person who grew up in the 80s–a time when there were no laws that inhibited any particular race from doing what they wanted to, but there were still some remnants of a world that did not treat everyone equally–I can look back and say “Hey, that wasn’t right.” For example, when a white and black couple would walk into a store or even church together, many people would’ve probably raised their eyebrows a bit. Today, thankfully, that archaic way of thinking has, for the most part, been done away with so that no one really cares who dates or marries who. Not only that, there are countless other examples I can cite showing the progress we as a society and nation have made in the past 40 years, so when I hear the cries of institutional racism being bandied about, it has always made me scratch my head. I have to admit, though, upon further inspection and looking at what has been revealed over the past week; I must say I was wrong. 

We cannot ignore the reality of what’s going on. We have to be honest about what’s transpiring right before our eyes for race relations ever to be genuinely repaired. People’s lives are literally at stake right now, and someone has to speak up.

New York⏤the state and city where our nation’s most iconic and revered statue resides. A place that should define freedom, liberty, and equality for the world to emulate. It has been ground zero for many things over the past few months, and unfortunately, none of them are good. From being first in the nation to mandate vaccination laws, New York is now first in the country to prioritize race as it relates to fighting Covid-19. To be clear, though, when I say New York, I’m talking about the government. You know, that whole institutionalized thing.  

It seems crazy to even say in 2022 that the color of one’s skin might literally mean the difference between who lives and who dies, but it’s true. This can be seen in the document recently released by the New York State Department of Health which lays out a plan on how they will distribute Covid 19 treatments, some of which are in short supply.

As one would think, allocation of these treatments, including monoclonal antibodies and the scarce antiviral pills, will be determined on an “as-needed basis,” New York says this is only part of the criteria. The other part includes “other factors that increase the risk of severe illness.” What do “other factors” refer to? Well, in their own words, one factor is being a race that is non-white, as this means you have had to withstand “longstanding systemic health and social inequities.” Specifically, the memo put out by the state of New York says, “Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.” That’s right. The sins of things that happened decades and centuries ago by people who are no longer living, committed against people who are no longer living, are being cast upon a people who have committed no such injustices to a people who have received no such injustices.

Because you’re a white guy you deserve to be put on the back of the bus and if that means you die… oh well. Instead of simply saying, “where are these treatments needed most?” New York is saying, “who was treated poorly in the past and how can we help them? Whites be damned!”

While this was happening on the state level, New York City has also been doing its part to continue in its maniacal method of making race a part in handling the epidemic. As the New York Post reported, leaked emails from New York City health officials reveal how race is being used to help determine who gets Coronavirus testing resources. The Task Force selected testing sites on Racial Inclusion and Equity, a group created by Mayor de Blasio in 2020.

Continuing, in a recent “Request for Proposals,” New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said, “The … DOHMH is committed to improving health outcomes for all New Yorkers by explicitly advancing racial equity and social justice. Racial equity does not mean simply treating everyone equally, but rather, allocating resources and services in such a way that explicitly addresses barriers imposed by structural racism (i.e., policies and institutional practices that perpetuate racial inequity) and White privilege.”

Reread that last sentence. You’re not crazy. They actually said “equity does not mean treating everyone equally” and that a person’s white privilege will play a role in how services and resources are being allocated. If you’re shaking your head while reading this, you’re not alone. I’m shaking my head while writing it.

If the goal for the last century and a half has been to rid the nation of racism, then the measures New York is taking seem to be doing the complete opposite. New Yorkers… I mean, certain New Yorkers are currently witnessing and experiencing government-sponsored institutionalized racism veiled by the idea that the powers that be are creating a level playing field. Leaving one group purposefully behind in an effort to bring about equity for another only furthers the distance between those who simply want to be treated the same–both black, white, and everything in between. But are we shocked to see this?

After all, “equity training,” a.k.a. Critical Race Theory, invades so much of the life of the average New Yorker these days. Once again, it appears that New York leadership, which seems to live to widen the divide between people and play the blame game, still cannot grasp that New Yorkers need not be listed in any other category than simply “New Yorkers.” Many of us hope that new leadership will bring about a much-needed change to New York.

Cover Image: Monoclonal antibodies or immunoglobulin fighting against a group of coronavirus or covid cells 3D rendering illustration. Immunity, immune system, immunotherapy, biomedical, biology, medicine.

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