On Tracking the Racial Disparities in Covid-19 Death Rates
Peniel E. Joseph in Conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequences of the pandemic. It’s our new daily podcast trying to make longterm sense out of the chaos of today’s global crisis.
On today’s episode, Peniel E. Joseph, University of Texas professor and author of The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., discusses the ongoing inequality in our post-pandemic world.
From the episode:
Peniel E. Joseph: We’ve seen the racial disparities in the people who have died. I’m thinking of places like Albany, Georgia, where Dr. King marched in 1961 to 200 miles southwest of Atlanta. There’ve been 125 African-Americans who died from Covid-19. Over 1,500 have been diagnosed and tested positive. There was a point where in Richmond, Virginia, all the positive Covid-19 tests were African-Americans. We’ve seen in Detroit, Michigan, a disproportionate number of African-Americans being killed by Covid-19, and there’ve been about 29 states that have released the racial data.
There’s a Covid-19 racial data tracker that your listeners can access online that is sponsored by the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and Professor Ibram X. Kendi. So what we’re seeing is the racial disparities everywhere where we’ve had different public health authorities statewide and municipally release racial data. We don’t have a complete 50 state racial dataset, let alone the hundreds and thousands of local municipalities, but we’re seeing disproportionately African-Americans are suffering from Covid-19. They’re disproportionately dying from Covid-19.
Peniel E. Joseph is the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. He has written several previous books on African American history, including Stokely: A Life. He lives in Austin, Texas.