Is “racism” a public health threat?

The CDC’s director, Biden appointee Rochelle Walensky, has declared that racism is a public health threat. Accordingly, she has vowed to invest more resources in minority communities.

To the non-woke, Walensky’s declaration might seem like politically correct nonsense masquerading as science, in service of funneling money to a core Democrat constituency. But to leftists, the statement is true by definition, based on the following syllogism:

1. All outcomes unfavorable to Blacks are the product of racism.
2. Blacks have less favorable health outcomes than Whites.
3. Therefore, the unfavorable health outcomes Blacks suffer are the product of racism.
4. And therefore, racism is a public health threat.

I don’t know whether anyone is presenting Walensky’s conclusion in these quite these terms. However, it seems clear that this sort of thinking underlies the view that racism threatens public health.

For example, in reporting Walensky’s statement the Washington Post cites findings that “because of segregated housing, Black people are nearly four times more likely to die of pollution exposure than White people.” But to assume that housing patterns are the result of racism is to apply the dogma that all outcomes unfavorable to Blacks are due to racism.

Where Blacks live is the result of (1) where they want to live and (2) where they can afford to live. If Blacks want to live in upscale neighborhoods populated by Whites, but can’t afford to, we shouldn’t assume that racism is responsible. More likely, the Blacks in question haven’t done the things they needed to do — e.g., stay in school, avoid having kids too young, get and stay married — to afford the housing they want.

I was struck by a passage in the Post’s report claiming that “exposure to micro-agressions” (sic) can affect a person’s health by causing “physiological changes in how certain hormones are released.” So says Ranit Mishori of Physicians for Human Rights.

How did she reach this conclusion? Did she bring in Black subjects, hook them up to a monitoring device, and have Whites give them dirty looks?

More likely, her conclusion is the marriage of junk science and woke jargon.

Perhaps Walensky will elaborate on why she believes racism is a threat to public health. If we’re lucky, she might even state her definition of racism.

In the meantime, I’m going to adopt the non-woke view of her declaration — politically correct nonsense masquerading as science, in service of funneling money to a core Democrat constituency.

Is it premature to wonder whether, if Walensky’s view that racism is a threat to public health becomes widely accepted, those declared by authorities to be “racists” will one day be quarantined?

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