Thank you for sharing these important reflections. As a European American, even having spent thousands of hours doing oral history interviews with my African American neighbors, I only get glimpses of these experiences. However, if we hope to understand each other and work for a better world, we must try to understand the experiences of our neighbors/students/co-workers.

We are already seeing disparities in outcomes related to coronavirus based on the old fault lines of race. For example, fatality rates for African Americans in Chicago are disproportionately high (see https://www.cbsnews.com/news/african-americans-comprise-more-than-70-percent-of-covid-19-deaths-in-chicago-mayor-says-2020-04-06/)

It’s not just one factor, but an accumulation of social and economic factors that make this crisis worse for African Americans. Here is just example of a factor: Going into the COVID-19 crisis, African Americans already have must higher rates of poorly controlled asthma, partly due to a lack of access to medical care. HHS reports that African Americans have much higher rates of asthma and are almost three times more likely to die of asthma than European Americans.

In addition, as has been noted by many, “social distancing” is a privilege, and those who have insecure housing and/or low-wage jobs in essential services do not have the luxury of staying home. Again, this disproportionately affects African Americans who, thanks to targeted government policies, have accumulated little generational wealth.

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