SpeakOut Ed Talks - Coronavirus and the Politics of Pandemic: What Does Race Have to Do With It?

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In this webinar, antiracism educator Tim Wise explores how race and racism have contributed to the COVID-19 crisis in the United States. First, racial and ethnic scapegoating of Asians limits our ability to deal forthrightly with the crisis, by shifting blame to national and cultural “others,” rather than addressing the unique systemic failures of the American response to the pandemic.

Second, even the initial response to the pandemic in the U.S. —nonchalance, and a sense of invincibility far more common among privileged and dominant social groups (white men in particular)—led to deadly delays in moving to stem the transmission of this novel coronavirus.

And finally, unless we understand the role that racial bias plays in preventing the U.S. from having a more comprehensive and universal health care delivery system, we may never develop the kind of health care infrastructure needed to prevent future tragedies of this kind. While the spread of COVID-19 provides an opportunity to appreciate the interconnectedness of humanity across lines of race and nation, as this vital webinar makes clear, such an outcome will depend on our willingness to take aim at the biases and inequities that continue to divide us.