Sunday, October 31, 2021

[pjzxklze] racism of requiring COVID-19 vaccination

among those who are choosing not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (future post mcbkqach) are those who belong to groups that have long been historically mistreated by the government.  they don't trust the government in general, so they don't trust government propaganda encouraging vaccination.

expand government to mean "government and mainstream society" because the latter has also long been complicit in the mistreatment.

among the groups who have long been so historically mistreated by government and mainstream society are African-Americans.  their mistreatment and cause for distrust of government includes things like the Tuskegee Experiment as well as their much more recent history of being murdered by government police (Black Lives Matter).

news reports indicate African-Americans have significantly lower COVID-19 vaccination rates than whites, with one of the main reasons being this distrust, as reflected in interviews.  (note: other reasons include lack of easy access to vaccination sites, not having flexibility in life to deal with the day or two of incapacitation after each dose.)

rebuilding the trust is a topic for another day.  (perhaps we avoid thinking about how to rebuild trust because of how frighteningly difficult the task (probably) is.  after we (ever) decide to start, it might take centuries to complete, reflecting the centuries of mistreatment over which the trust was lost.  it therefore might take centuries to achieve a vaccination rate high enough for herd immunity.  this is how we pay for our sins.)

instead, we focus on something here and now: the rise of events and venues requiring proof of vaccination to participate or enter ("please provide a picture of your vaccination card"), and the accompanying rise of hatred toward those who refuse to be vaccinated.

in the context of African-Americans refusing vaccination as described above, this translates to barriers to entry for African-Americans, and hatred toward them.

this is how institutional racism plays out.

we hypothesize that this is how racism, systemic racism, and institutional racism have always played out.  it's never just "I hate you for the color of your skin", "I exclude you for the color of your skin", or "I reject the notion that all men are created equal".  it's always something more complicated: "I hate you, exclude you, reject you for your behavior", "something more urgent is on the line: public safety, life or death of people I care about, the ability for me and people I care about to live normal lives".  (think about how the pandemic has affected education and courtship: think of the children.)

we often look back on racism in history and wonder, how could people be so horrible?  this time, let's record why.

if you are promulgating policies requiring proof of vaccination, record your thoughts and reasoning.  if you are hating on the anti-vaxxers, record your thoughts and reasoning.  and remember, this is for posterity, so [please] be honest.

is it ignorance?  "I was unaware that African-Americans distrust the government."

is it willful ignorance?  "I do not care to know or understand what is going inside the minds of people resisting vaccination."

is it "us" versus "not one of us"?  "the people resisting vaccination seem foreign to us, so excluding them from our community is fine."  excluding the unvaccinated, "the unclean", "the wrong kind of people", African-Americans, might make your (primarily white) event more attractive, so there is perverse incentive to implement vaccination-required-for-entry policies, and to keep them in place as long as possible.

"it seemed like a good idea at the time."

how should COVID-19 vaccination policies be formulated to lessen institutional racism?  explicit sunset clauses might help, but there remain devilish details.

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