Racial warrior offended when the surgeon general tells minorities that behavior affects virus risks
PBS's Yamiche Alcindor has distinguished herself as one of the media figures most engaged in the "gotcha" game at COVID-19 press conferences, especially when she can work race into the issue. On Friday, after the surgeon general made a direct plea to minorities about behaviors that can protect them, she went on the attack.
U.S. surgeon general Dr. Jerome Adams spent five minutes during Friday's press conference talking about the fact that COVID-19 is hitting minority communities especially hard. His densely packed presentation began with his addressing minorities' predisposition to diseases that increase the risk from COVID-19, such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.
From there, Adams moved to lifestyle factors that increase the risk. These included the fact that minorities tend to live in more densely packed, urban communities; have multi-generational houses; and are employed in jobs that cannot be done via telecommuting.
Adams then talked about dangerous COVID-19 myths that circulate in minority communities. He said he and Vice President Pence have spoken to thousands of minorities, including hundreds of community leaders, to discuss minorities' unique vulnerability to COVID-19.
Lastly, Dr. Adams spoke past the media and directly to those minority communities hardest hit (beginning at 3:40):
Here is the full press briefing for context:https://t.co/6GWb59uTRm— Vitamin J (@vitamin_j) April 10, 2020
And I want to close by saying that while your state and local health departments, and those of us in public service, are working day and night to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect you, regardless of your color, your creed, or your geography, I need you to know: You are not helpless, and it's even more important that in communities of color we adhere to the taskforce guidelines to slow the spread.
Stay at home, if possible. If you must go out, maintain six feet of distance between you and everyone else, and wear a mask if you're going to be within six feet of others. Wash your hands more often than you ever dreamed possible. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
And call your friends on your family. Check in on your mother. She wants to hear from you right now. And speaking of mothers, we need you to do this, if not for yourself, then for your Abuela. Do it for your granddaddy. Do it for your Big Momma. Do it for your PopPop.
We need you to understand, especially in communities of color, we need you to step up and help stop the spread so we can protect those who are most vulnerable.
PBS's Yamiche Alcindor was among the assembled reporters. Having heard the entire presentation, she didn't ask a question that would help anyone understand substantive issues. Instead, she went for the "gotcha" questions: was Adams being racist for telling minority communities to stay away from alcohol and drugs, and by using informal terms to refer to parents and grandparents?
.@Yamiche is at it again.— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) April 10, 2020
What a RIDICULOUS question for U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
Good thing he is quick on his feet to respond to her bonkers gotcha question.
In response to the question about using phrases such as "abuela" and "Big Momma," Adams patiently explained that he and the minority community leaders agreed that "we needed targeted outreach." He believed that it helped outreach to use terms that came from his own mixed-race family.
Alcindor wasn't done. Was Adams telling only minorities to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs? Showing enormous restraint (many would have rolled their eyeballs at that question), Adams said his statement had been directed not to everyone, but to those communities hardest hit. He agreed, though, that everyone should make healthy lifestyle choices to help fight the virus.
Alcindor was so thrilled with her racial take on things that she tweeted out her "gotcha" moment.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams says black, Latino & other people of color should "avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs." "We need you to step up," he says.— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 10, 2020
Some will find this language offensive after Adams stressed that behavior was not the issue for why more black ppl are dying.
I asked U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams about asking black people, Latinos & other ppl of color to avoid drinking & drugs & saying do it for "Big Mama" & "abuela."— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 10, 2020
Adams said he meant no offense, used his family's language & that all Americans should be avoiding substances.
These stupid "gotcha" questions, intended to embarrass Trump officials without any regard for educating people, are a disgrace. No wonder Trump's poll numbers are soaring. The press conferences that the media try to hide allow people to see that Trump is fighting a disease, while the media are fighting Trump.
We'll give Ted Cruz the final word:
Imagine: you’re a professional NPR reporter, you have an opportunity to ask the US Surgeon General a Q—in the midst of a global pandemic w/ over 100k fatalities—and you ask “‘many people’ are offended by what you call your grandmother.” Seriously, what the hell is wrong w/ MSM?!? https://t.co/bbOA3VtiWW— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 11, 2020
3/x And for all those liberals triggered by “Abuela,” that’s what a whole lot of Hispanics—including me—called our grandmothers. So don’t use it as an opportunity to stoke racial & ethnic division, especially in a time of crisis.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 11, 2020