Perspective: Disparities By Design

Apr 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a situation most Americans alive today have not experienced. It’s challenged our American freedoms ranging from how we worship, work, educate, congregate, socialize, shop, vacation, and grieve. As a nation we take pride in our capitalistic economic system. Over the last several weeks we’ve witnessed 401K’s lose value, the stock market crash, along with historic joblessness and unemployment applications. I applaud both sides of the aisle for getting the stimulus package out, which includes the CARES act. But it’s not enough. The long-term effects of this pandemic will be far reaching.

As states share their data on new cases and death related to COVID-19; the reality of American racism is being exposed again. According to the Surgeon General, African-Americans comprise 35.7% of confirmed cases and 53.2% of deaths despite only representing 27% of the US population. The US Census Bureau states the white population of Chicago, IL is 49%, and 30% African-American. As of last week, in The Windy City 72% of COVID-19 related deaths are African-American. This is a result of over 300 year of racism; American’ origin sin. Bigotry has caused senseless suffering in Black communities since the first slave ships darkened the port of Philadelphia in 1684.

We’ve been making noise about systemic racism for years; oftentimes we are brushed off and told to stop playing the “black card.” Healthcare disparities among African-Americans are the result of many factors. They include lack of investments in disenfranchised communities, under employment, food deserts, discriminatory lending practices, and hazardous living conditions. Now is not the time to change the narrative. Now is the time to hold our leaders and politicians accountable. It’s time to use our voice and vote to demand equality.

I’m Joe Mitchell and this is my perspective.