AOC (Blatantly) Lies Again
If the left is going to politicize the coronavirus, would it kill them to at least be good at it?
The other day the New York Times’ Michael Barbaro posted a chart showing that most people who were still traveling more than two miles per day lived in the south, in what’s presumably an attempt to shame them.
As I’m sure you’re all aware (Michael Barbaro isn’t), the south doesn’t have the same population density as Manhattan. Unsurprisingly, the percentage of people traveling more than two miles a day correlates almost perfectly to the percentage of people who don’t have a supermarket within a mile of their house.
Now AOC is weighing in. While Democrat Rep. Fredrica Wilson attempted to politicize the crisis by arguing that the virus was sexist against women (despite 70% of the deaths so far being men), AOC believes the virus is actually racist (a very important distinction!). “COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities,” she wrote on twitter. “Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions. Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.”
COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities.
Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions.
Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 3, 2020
My first thought was that the racial disparity must be the result of population density – because minorities, on average, tend to live in more population dense areas such as cities.
But when I looked for the exact data to investigate my thesis, I only found a complete lack of it. Ibram X. Kendi, a “Director of Antiracist Research” at American University shares AOC concerns, but noted in a recent article in The Atlantic that the data just don’t exist (yet).
I worry the virus is disproportionately infecting and killing people of color right now—and we don’t even know. I worry the pandemic of racism is worsening the coronavirus pandemic right now—and we don’t even know. And Americans don’t seem to care to know.
I suspect that some Americans believe that racial data will worsen racism. But without racial data, we can’t see whether there are disparities between the races in coronavirus testing, infection, and death rates. If we can’t see racial disparities, then we can’t see the racist policies behind any disparities and deaths. If we can’t see racist policies, we can’t eliminate racist policies, or replace them with anti-racist policies that protect equity and life. Without racial data, we can’t see racism, and racism becomes like asymptomatic carriers—spreading the virus, and no one knows it.
No conservative, centrist, or progressive can say for sure whether race or class or even their intersection is the salient divider during the pandemic. We have data on neither the class nor the race of victims, let alone the intersectional data that would allow us to assess, say, whether poor Asian women are dying at higher or lower rates than poor white women; or whether white elites and Latino elites are being infected at similar or dissimilar rates. We just don’t know.
The only exception is in Michigan, whose Department of Health and Human Services does show that African-Americans are dying disproportionately from the virus. But again, that’s not due to racism, that’s due to Detroit being hit by the virus.
So, where did AOC source her information from? She’s either extrapolating from Michigan, or she just made it up knowing it would sound plausible to her audience, and ran with it.
And it worked. After all, no one else has bothered to fact check her on this.