How racial hierarchy kills

THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS AND THE KNEE THAT Derek Chauvin casually placed on George Floyd’s neck for close to nine minutes have shown the exact same thing: there is a racial hierarchy in the U.S., and people of color—particularly black people—are at the bottom of it.

At this point, several months into the pandemic, most people are aware that COVID-19 has disproportionately killed black people in the U.S. In Louisiana, black people account for more than 53% of those who have died from COVID-19, although they make up only 33% of the population in the state. In Cook County, Illinois, they have made up 35% of the county’s COVID-19 deaths while constituting 23% of the population. In New York City, which was until recently the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., preliminary statistics show that the COVID-19 mortality rate for black people was 92.3 per 100,000 people. For white people, however, it was less than half of that: 45.2 per 100,000 people. These numbers make clear that the novel coronavirus is not a

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