Lincoln County, Oregon has implemented a policy requiring all residents to wear face coverings when out in public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, because of the dangers of racial profiling, county officials have exempted anyone who isn’t white from obeying the mandate.
Health officials announced this week that people of color who have “heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment” from wearing masks do not have to comply with the order.
“No person shall intimidate or harass people who do not comply,” officials said.
In an interview with CNN, ReNika Moore of the ACLU said, “For many black people, deciding whether or not to wear a bandanna in public to protect themselves and others from contracting coronavirus is a lose-lose situation that can result in life-threatening consequences either way.”
Moore provided no evidence to demonstrate that this is the case.
Liberal health officials are also encouraging black people to make this sort of false choice.
“Which death do they choose? Covid-19 or police shooting?” asked Vickie Mays, a health policy professor at UCLA. “We have African Americans who have been dragged out of stores, who have been ordered by police and store guards to pull their masks down or take their masks off. You also see people protesting during this pandemic because people feel strongly what is happening to them is worse than the risk of death. These are horrible risk assessments no one should have to make.”
It certainly is. Or it would be, if there were any legitimate “risk” to be found. And we’re not necessarily saying there isn’t. We’re just saying that, in an era where many people are taking for granted that white police are deliberately murdering unarmed, innocent black men with total impunity…maybe we ought to stop relying on the intuitions of social justice warriors and the mainstream media. Maybe we ought to take a hard look at the facts before we make sweeping claims about how black people will be shot if they wear a surgical mask to the grocery store.
Until then, maybe we should press pause on mask policies that further divide us by race, especially since all the data shows that black people are being hit harder by the coronavirus than any other population. We’re not sure how, exactly, we’re going to “defeat” this pandemic, but we damn sure know that the winning weapon will not be found in the Identity Politics Armory.