There is a difference between understanding and understanding why many African Americans oppose a Covid vaccine and choosing to heighten those fears. As with many races, American science has a dirty history of mistreating Black Americans.
The infamous “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in Negroes” was conducted by the United States Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 1932 to 1972. Researchers looked at 399 the long-term progression of untreated syphilis Black men who were never informed of their diagnosis – and instead were lied to directly – put their lives and those of those around them at risk. During the “study” the men were never treated with the remedy penicillin.
It is very understandable, therefore, why many African Americans would not trust the U.S. government’s medical advice regarding the safety of the coronavirus vaccine – once burned, twice shy. However, it is less understandable why public figures with large megaphones would fuel these fears rather than try to alleviate them. You can understand a person’s fear without compounding it, especially if that fear is putting their health at risk.
Washington Post writer and MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart, who is himself an African American, wrote an article in today’s paper entitled, “Dionne Warwick wasn’t exactly wrong about the coronavirus vaccine.” The famous singer recently joined on Capehart’s TV show, where she expressed her reluctance when asked if she would take the Coivid vaccine:
“No. Not yet. It’s a decision everyone has to make, and that is my decision to wait and see. It’ll take a good minute to be very effective. So I’ll give it a chance to be effective. “
In the rest of the article, Capehart explains why he agrees that African Americans should “wait” to get the Covid vaccine:
What really annoyed me was the messages I received from viewers who immediately referred to Warwick as an anti-Vaxxer. It was an accusation that completely missed the nuance of what she said. “Wait” is not the same as “never”, and neither Warwick nor my mother ever said “never”. It is a distinction with no distinction unless you are black, especially a black person of the Warwick and my mother’s generation. This distinction is the difference between protecting your own health and experimenting.
His essay does not explain why African Americans are afraid to get the vaccine. It’s an essay that tells them that their fear is legitimate and that they should avoid the vaccine for the time being. This is wrong.
Read the rest of this story in my new Substack newsletter, CyberDisobedience.
CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He holds a degree in Joint Law (JD) and a Masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown. and has served in the U.S. Senate, World Bank, Children’s Defense Fund, United Nations Development Program, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent television expert who has appeared on O’Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy, and Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. John’s article archive.