Hell naw, Black people don’t trust the vaccine. But here’s how you fix that.

Warning: Just saying… there’s a high risk that something here will make you cringe.

I happened to catch a glimpse of a Sunday morning news program where panelists were discussing the fears of African Americans who are reluctant to receive the coronavirus vaccine. When one panelist, a black man, referenced the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, a second panelist, also black, responded, “We’re not in Tuskegee anymore!”

I couldn’t do anything but sigh. Believe it or not, they were both wrong.

I’ve been talking to Black people about our collective and individual health for a long time. And for years we have talked about what we see, what we feel and what we experience. The word “Tuskegee” has not appeared even once.

Medical science has an abysmal history with black America. There is simply no other way to say it. There’s time when scientists deliberately watched black men suffer with syphilis and denied them care as a means of checking the ramifications of the disease.

But there’s more than that. Much more.

There is also the time when James Marion Sims, known as “The Father of Gynecology”, Experimented on enslaved women without anesthesia.and then took his new techniques and treatments to a women’s hospital that he founded, with the sole purpose of treating rich white women… with anesthesia. One of his most lasting contributions to the consciousness of medical science is the unfounded idea that Black people don’t feel pain.. To this day, people try to absolve Sims’ reputation from the disdain it receives in the current climate, repeating the absurd idea that statues of him should not be torn down simply because they are “a product of his time.”

“His time,” to be clear, was a period in history when white people were given carte blanche to be sociopaths.

there is also the time when black women were sterilized, without your consentoften in response to newly freed women becoming more dependent on government programs such as welfare. Black women were considered promiscuous and “uncontrollable” andTherefore, the eugenics program that predominantly sterilized black women and other women of color was presented as a public good. It is worth noting that even teenagers, Adolescents who had never given birth or had given birth after being sexually assaulted.He had also been sterilized.

Note that This type of horrible practice still exists, in one form or another, today..

We can also talk about the origins of birth control.Early experimentation with women in a Puerto Rican housing project. without consent—and the desire to determine the effectiveness of the recipe to sell it to the wealthier white populations of the continental United States.

Or we could talk about Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose genetic material was collected without her consent during a doctor’s visit and today is continually replicated and used in laboratories around the world.

I… I could really go on about this all day. The list is really that long.. If you were to unfold it, it would be like letting a new roll of paper towels unravel downhill.

But black people, by and large, are not thinking about the entries on this list of historical medical harms. We are thinking about what we are seeing today.

We’re thinking about the maternal mortality rate: the number of women who die each year during or directly due to something as routine as childbirth. We’re thinking about the number of black people succumbing every day to common chronic illnesses around us, and we’re wondering why we can prescribe regimens of 13 pills each day, which equates to over 90 pills each week, but we don’t actually prescribe which cures either eliminate the burden of the disease completely. We’re thinking about how today, in 2020, the year of our Beyoncé, we have medical students still saying they believe black people don’t experience the same things as white people.

It is easier to think of black people as superhuman and subhuman simultaneously than to think of any white man as a sociopath.

We’re thinking about how the story is the same no matter where you look: Hospitals in predominantly black communities continue to close in every city and every state.. We see the same type of hospitable deserts emerging and leaving us without sufficient access to care. The per capita rate of hospitals in communities like ours means that even if there was a hospital nearby, we would all need care at the same time, something like what we’ve seen over the past year with the coronavirus spreading like wildfire through our neighborhoods. —We couldn’t get it.

We are realizing that something is wrong with healthcare in America, and instead of investing financially to fix it, we are seeing our culture and identity being blamed for it. Us necessary to be sterilized, and Puerto Rican women needed to be experimented on, without our consent because we were promiscuous and, by extension, represented a burden to the state. black men necessary be allowed to suffer from syphilis because, as Dr. Thomas W. Murrell, a physician with the U.S. Public Health Service, said“The effort to assimilate a complex civilization drives their sick minds until the result is a criminal record. […] “Illness will achieve what man cannot do.”

Instead of recognizing the humanity of Black people, instead of showing empathy for our pain, shortcuts are taken at every turn. If a penny could be made by causing us harm, the penny was made; If a penny could be saved by cutting back on our care, a penny could be saved. No one was held accountable for harming us, and we were expected to continue living with the trauma and consequences of those who ultimately experienced wealth and notoriety. It was not until literally 2018 when The Sims statue was torn down in Central Park, New York. The survivors of past sterilizations are only At the moment receiving compensation. Henrietta Lacks’ family is still trying to prevent this type of damage to be replicated.

You can surely see how this translates into the vaccination debate.

If all harm and harm tends to be directed predominantly at black people, it would be No It would be viewed favorably to state that “we will give it to African Americans first.” Black people have felt a disproportionate amount of COVID-19-related harm and death. How could we trust that the intentions of getting vaccinated first are pure? If vaccine harm is concentrated among us, how can we trust that that harm will be enough to remove the drug from circulation?

We may not always have the language of empathy, but we recognize situations in which we are denied empathy. We have to see and hear people in power put themselves in our shoes, say ‘wow, this is unacceptable’ and change. The refusal to do so has created distrust.

Changing this climate of conspiracy and distrust requires leadership from the people in power; It requires investment in hospital and healthcare infrastructure to ensure that when we need care, we can get it. It requires regulation that penalizes those who violate our right to consent to care, and that significant punitive restitution be paid to those who have suffered… and the media needs to find out and report it when it happens. We need to see that people care about us enough to preemptively protect us from harm, and that those who are hell-bent on harming us will actually be forced to suffer a consequence. and pay restitution.

In a world where even an exhalation can cause unquantifiable harm, it has finally been recognized that our well-being is linked to that of everyone else. This is not the first pandemic and it will not be the last. How we repair this gap matters, not only to heal Black people, but to protect our nation and prepare as a nation for next time.

Because, rest assured, there will be a next time.

For more information on the unfortunate history of African Americans and the medical industry, see Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington. Using my link to purchase will literally allow you to make pennies on this blog.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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