The Atlantic

Give Black Scientists a Place in This Fight

During the pandemic, African Americans need the health establishment to engage us not as victims, but as leaders and problem-solvers.
Source: Getty / The Atlantic

Of the 110,000 Americans who have died from complications of COVID-19, nearly a quarter of them were black: churchgoers, mourners, singers, school principals, police chiefs, public-transit operators, doctors and nurses, young and old.

I am a scientist who, for the past nine weeks, has been studying the respiratory virus that is disproportionately killing people who look like me. “I can’t breathe”—the way George Floyd pleaded for mercy as a white police officer in Minneapolis killed him late last month—has become a slogan for those protesting against police violence and systemic racism in America. But it also captures the deep inequities that have allowed the coronavirus to claim so many black lives, and neither the scientific community nor the public-health world is confronting the problem directly.

[Ibram X. Kendi: Stop blaming black people for dying of]

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