Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) Thursday claimed the spread of COVID-19 could have been mitigated if the federal government were paying Black Americans reparations. Jackson-Lee made the remarks on the House floor as part of her promotion of HR 40, a bill which would establish a congressional commission to “study and develop reparations proposals for African Americans.”
“There is no doubt we have been impacted, that DNA in the trajectory of slavery to today,” said Jackson-Lee. “For example, COVID. Black African Americans have gotten COVID at a rate of nearly 1.5 times higher than that of white people or hospitalized at a rate of nearly four times higher and three times likely to die. COVID hit us very desperately.”
While Blacks died at a faster rate than other groups in the beginning of the pandemic, White Americans have been surpassing that rate for over a year.
The congresswoman cited a Harvard Medical School study from February 2021 on “anti-racist epidemiology,” and declared that “reparations for African-Americans could have cut COVID-19 transmission and infection rates both among Blacks and the populations at large.”
“Reparations are curative, they’re not punishment. The analysis continued to look at data throughout the nation,” added Jackson-Lee.
Unsurprisingly, a Google search for “Sheila Jackson-Lee reparations” yields no recent results save for a lone YouTube video. Other search engines such as DuckDuckGo yield more relevant results about the congresswoman’s remarks on the House floor.
The push to turn COVID-19 into a racial issue includes a recent study which claimed that forcibly masking children reduces the effects of racism.
“We believe that universal masking may be especially useful for mitigating effects of structural racism in schools, including potential deepening of educational inequities,” wrote the study’s authors.
The rationale behind the study’s conclusion is that districts which forced students to wear masks and had less COVID-19 had higher percentages of students who were Black and “Latinx,” a word considered offensive by most Hispanics.
“[T]hese districts had higher percentages of low-income students, students with disabilities, and students who were English-language learners, as well as higher percentages of Black and Latinx students and staff,” said the study.
Notably, the researchers studied mask mandates, not mask use.