Black accountability in the age of the Wuhan virus

Every time my father disciplined me when I was growing up under his roof, he would tell me, “only babies and animals are not accountable for their actions.” My father’s lesson was simple: all people must be held accountable for the things they say and do. That’s the way it should be. It is a sign of growth and maturity, and personal accountability is engrained in the American tradition.

For many years dating to the end of slavery, black Americans shared this perspective as a matter of individualism and familial pride. But beginning in the 1960s, a lot of black Americans were convinced to identify as victims. They accepted the branding of victimhood from the Left, which ate away their sense of self-worth and personal accountability. We’re seeing this again today in the midst of the Wuhan virus pandemic. 

Although we don’t have comprehensive data on Wuhan virus deaths by race, statistics from a number of states and municipalities show blacks are dying from coronavirus in numbers that are disproportionate to their population. For example, blacks make up about 14% of the population in Illinois and Michigan, yet account for 42% and 41% of all coronavirus deaths, respectively. The trends are similar in other states and cities that have provided mortality data by race. 

That black Americans are suffering disproportionately from this pandemic isn’t up for debate. But what is debatable is why. The political Left and their media allies are quick to blame this on institutional racism in the United States. Blacks receive poor healthcare because America is racist. Blacks live in poverty because America is racist. Doctors don’t care about the health of black people because America is racist. It’s instructive to note that most of these accusations about racism are made in the present tense when in truth, 21st-century America has perhaps the best record of racial equality of any nation on earth.

This fact doesn’t deter the Left and others seeking to ingratiate themselves to the media. Actor Will Smith recently interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. When asked why blacks are “disproportionately being affected by the coronavirus”; Dr. Fauci stated that it is directly related to health “disparities” in minorities (read blacks). Black Americans also face a “disproportionate prevalence in incidents of the very co-morbid conditions,” that place them at higher risk, like hypertension, asthma, obesity, and diabetes, and contracting COVID-19 with these pre-existing conditions most often results in a poor outcome. 

But blacks are not overweight because of racism. They don’t suffer from diabetes or hypertension because of Jim Crow. Most have these conditions because of their behavior and their personal lifestyle choices. But instead of suggesting that blacks bear at least some responsibility for their actions and the consequences of them, we are given a pass and our plight is blamed on racism. Blacks are told that they are victims, that their problems are the fault of society, not decades of poor health choices. 

It is a fact that blacks have higher levels of hypertension, asthma, obesity, diabetes and heart disease than any other race of people in America. But this is not the fault of society, nor is it a disparity that society has created. That would be like saying those who choose to own waterfront property are disproportionately susceptible to flooding during hurricane season and society is to blame for this consequence of their choice. It’s despicable that race hustlers would use the global Wuhan virus pandemic as a vehicle to promote a lie that demeans an entire race of humans. 

We alone have put ourselves in this predicament, and blacks need to admit it and accept responsibility for their health choices. Blacks, like all other races in America, are free to choose how they live their lives and take care of themselves. To say otherwise does them a disservice and treats them like the “babies and animals,” my father referenced in my boyhood when enjoining me to take responsibility for my actions. 

Blacks have the same capacity for making decisions about their life and health as whites, Asians, Hispanics and every other race in America, all of whom are held accountable for their own actions. I and other black Americans are not babies or animals. We are citizens and expect to be treated as such.