‘Stupid’ won’t serve people of color in fighting pandemic

By Erik Rush

As Americans observe social distancing guidelines and quarantines during the coronavirus pandemic, it is important that we acknowledge the efforts and the dedication of those who are laboring against the virus, whether those in public service or health care workers, the beleaguered troops on the front lines. I believe it is also important to recognize those individuals and organizations that have acted selflessly – in some cases, extremely selflessly – to provide aid and comfort to those who are suffering.

That said, the COVID-19 pandemic has also underscored the depths of stupidity to which some of our citizens have been willing sink. Here, I’m not referencing opportunistic leftists who are attempting to capitalize on the pandemic to further their evil agenda. This is to be expected, especially in light of their deportment over the last several years. Nor am I talking about genuinely stupid people. Genuinely stupid people can’t help that they’re stupid, and we should expect them to say and do stupid things.

The people I’m referencing are those who fall within the normal range of intelligence, but for whom this pandemic appears to have brought out the worst. Among these we can count citizens who’ve taken to brawling in public places over social distancing disagreements and those who have ignored social distancing recommendations simply because they don’t feel like complying, or because they’ve bought into some inane conspiracy theory or another, or because they think they know better than all of the medical experts, scientists and front line workers (doctors, nurses, etc.) who are admonishing them to heed said recommendations.

On social media, even some conservatives are panicking. Some have declared that the pandemic is a charade calculated to divest us of our civil liberties, demanding that President Trump re-open the country immediately. Others are treating COVID-19 like the “Captain Trips” supervirus from Stephen King’s “The Stand.”

Only three weeks in, and we’re seeing a disturbing level of degradation in intellect and civility among our own. It’s quite sad, and not very encouraging.

Among the press, we can certainly put down some of the stupidity to ideology, since many in the press are indeed leftist ideologues who are attempting to capitalize on the pandemic to further their evil agenda. Yet, there are some in the press who have said things that are so fundamentally stupid they have no real value in advancing any agenda – except that of sowing division.

Take Yamiche Alcindor, who is a journalist for PBS. At the April 10 White House coronavirus task force briefing, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams admonished black and Latino Americans to avoid behaviors that might put them at further risk for contracting COVID-19, and to be increasingly mindful of how they might help family members and their communities.

According to Fox News, recent reports have shown that the virus has disproportionately impacted black and Latino communities, particularly in urban areas. This isn’t entirely surprising, since so many blacks and Latinos live in urban areas, and people in these areas are being particularly hard hit by the virus due to population density, as I pointed out last week in this space.

At one point during the briefing, Ms. Alcindor confronted Dr. Adams over his remarks:

“You said that African Americans and Latinos should avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. You also said do it for your abuela, do it for Big Mama and Pop-Pop. There are some people online who are already offended by that language and the idea that you’re saying that behaviors might be leading to these high death rates. Do you, I guess, have a response to people who might be offended by the language that you used?”

For those who may be unfamiliar with the surgeon general or Ms. Alcindor, both of these individuals are black. Of course, neither Alcindor nor the Washington press corps intended to cut Adams any more slack than they do the president. They certainly never lauded Donald Trump for appointing a younger black man as surgeon general instead of an old, white one. As some pundits have already asserted, the president could cure COVID-19, cancer and the common cold, and the press would give him no credit.

As someone who works for Trump, of course Dr. Adams is scum by association; there’s little doubt that reporters in the briefing were eagerly waiting for a “gotcha” remark, and Alcindor took Dr. Adams’ words as a dubious opportunity to claim hers.

I have no qualms in stating that I find blacks who embrace the left’s prevailing racialist orthodoxy an embarrassment at best, and utterly disgusting at worst. In Dr. Adams’ position, I would have been tempted to perform the rhetorical equivalent of tearing Ms. Alcindor’s head off and punting it through the nearest doorway. But I digress.

While Alcindor was later castigated on social media and some alternative media venues for her stupid and divisive question, Dr. Adams’ response was very diplomatic and well-befitting an officer and a gentleman.

This, however, is how I would have responded:

“Here’s the thing you have to realize, Ms. Alcindor: Outside of our nation’s densely populated urban centers, there is nobody on the planet who thinks the way you do. People such as yourself and people who would be offended by what I said would not last a week outside of those insular urban enclaves, because they’re cesspools of racialist cultural groupthink. In other countries, you’d be ostracized at best, and in other regions in America, you would childishly put the culture down to everyone being a bigot. You and the people who claim that there is offense in my remarks need to dial back your damn sensitivities, because they are born of an imposed, malignant worldview and agenda that harm, rather than serve, people of color.”

For me, that would have been diplomatic – but then, I don’t work for our president.

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