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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tré Watkins

Covid & Black Syllabus Vol. 1

I love Black people. Unapologetically and without conditions. I desire to understand and interpret societal issues that directly impact our livelihood. With the abundance of COVID-19 news, it is crucial to be critical consumers of information because while being informed is good, being misinformed can be harmful. It is essential to acknowledge that mainstream media is only now, too little and too late at this point, beginning to talk about the racial and economic disparities apparent in the pandemic. For this reason, I have compiled this syllabus to specifically address the unique impact that COVID-19 has on Black Americans.

A syllabus is a guide, a roadmap, so to speak, that points the learner toward a deeper level of understanding of a particular subject. Journalists, Activists, and University Professors have analyzed how the historical legacy of anti-black policies and racism have created alarmingly disproportionate rates of Coronavirus infection and deaths among Black people.

Compiled from esteemed sources such as The Atlantic, The New York Times, Brookings Institute, and Cosmopolitan, these articles will give you a holistic look at the systemic barriers causing this racial pandemic and attempt to answer the question: How will we beat this thing?

The Coranoviruse's Unique Threat to the South 

Van Newkirk III - The Atlantic

Van Newkirk III of The Atlantic analyzes how The South is “on pace to become the next global epicenter of the pandemic.”  Poor health care services, mass incarceration, and high levels of poverty and racial segregation combine to create a perfect storm of conditions, increasing the threat to Black Southerners. 


The Coronavirus Will Be a Catastrophe for the Poor

Derek Thompson - The Atlantic

Derek Thompson of The Atlantic states, “This wave of the pandemic will almost certainly disproportionately punish the poor.” With data suggesting that African Americans are overrepresented among both the working poor and the newly classified “essential” workforce, COVID-19 stands to devastate an already weathered community. 


Why are Blacks dying at Higher Rates from COVID-19? 

Rashawn Ray - Brookings

Professor Rashawn Ray outlines the various ways that structural racism and old-school in-your-face discrimination converge to increase COVID-19-related deaths among African Americans.


Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States 

John Eligon, Aura D.S. Burch, Dionne Searcey, and Richard A Oppel Jr.

The New York Times makes it clear the history of structural inequality leaves Black Americans particularly susceptible to contracting the deadly virus. Cities affected by extreme redlining, such as Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and New Orleans, are not surprisingly seeing high contraction among Black citizens.


Black People are Disproportionately Hit Hard by Coronavirus. L.A. County is Taking Action  

Jaclyn Cosgove, Ben Poston - LA times

As Malcolm X poignantly stated, “As long as you South of the Canadian border, you South.”  Should we be surprised that Black Los Angelenos are also disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus?


The Coronavirus Doesn’t Have a Race Problem—America’s Systems Do 

Brittany Packnett Cunningham - Cosmopolitan 

“There is no pathological brokenness in Black people. The pathology lies in our systems.” Brittany Packnett Cunningham with a scathing critique of the failure of American systems to protect all its citizens.


How to Reduce the Racial Gap in COVID-19 Deaths 

Rashwan Ray - Brookings

A 6-point plan to slow the racial pandemic of Coronavirus. (Spoiler alert: Bernie was primarily right)


Stop Blaming Black People for Dying of the Coronavirus

Ibram X. Kendi - The Atlantic

According to Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, anti-Blackness is entrenched in the narrative surrounding COVID-19.  Early evidence suggests that, as usual, Black Americans are both more concerned and more informed about the dangers of the deadly disease. 


--Created by Dr. Tré Watkins

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