(Politicizd) ----- This past Thursday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky formally declared racism a serious public health threat. The move, widely unexpected, surprised many who felt it was a political statement from an otherwise apolitical agency.
Walensky, appointed by President Biden, was a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a proclaimed expert on AIDS and HIV. She was also the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. As a result, many critics worried that the medical expert might be lacking in the field of racial equality or the effects of racism on America's health issues.
Walensky explained that, "A growing body of research shows that centuries of racism in this country has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color". Furthermore, she notes that the highest case counts and death totals from Covid-19 have originated in minority communities. However, critics were quick to point out the fact that this likely has nothing to do with race of a person and rather the living situation they exist in.
As a consequence to the director's declaration, the CDC introduced a new initiative called , "Racism and Health", designed to research the effects of racism on health.
"To build a healthier America for all, we must confront the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustice that has given rise to racial and ethnic health inequities"
(CDC, on Racism in the Pubic Health Department)
The measure led to mixed reactions across the board, with some applauding its intentions, while others calling it a political move, from an unqualified position.
Civil Rights Attorney, Leo Terrell strongly denounced the move, saying flatly, "It's a lie". Terrell continued, "It's pure politics. She's lying. Sorry to say that. She [Walensky] has a conclusion without any supporting facts. What’s her qualification to say that? She's a doctor."
Later, Terrell expressed his concern that the Biden administration is strategically making 'everything about race'. In fact, he goes on to argue that her contention was inappropriate and would embarrassingly fail in a court of law.
"For her [Walensky] to conclude racism, she ignores 10,000 other reasons, she goes to a conclusion without fact. It could be economic status. It could be lack of education. It could be individuals not having the access, a variety of reasons." (Leo Terrell, Civil Rights Attorney)
Altogether, the issue of race in America is more prevalent than ever before, leading some to embrace the newfound "moves to equality", and others to cringe at the major intrusion of identity politics.