A newly arrived COVID-19 patient is set up with oxygen equipment in a Texas hospital in March 2020. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Stockdale High School

How this pandemic is emblematic of the discrimination POC face in America

The increasing push in social movements over the last decade has caused Americans to place an enormous spotlight on racial representation. Whether companies have been given a sudden wake up call, or just want to avoid scandal, corporations are pouring millions into programs to help diverse workplace atmospheres. Despite all this, according to a Harvard Business Review, “diversity and inclusion tools and practices that went mainstream in the ‘90s are grossly insufficient for racial equity work”.

Equity, which the World Health Organization defines as “the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people,” is focused on providing resources that fit based on a person’s circumstance. Policies and procedures based in equity may result in an unequal distribution of resources.

A recent shift from the goal of equality to a more realistic goal of equity is apparent throughout various aspects of politics, from education to environmentalism, the focus of many is racial equity. Racial equity, defined as both an outcome and a process, must be taken seriously. Racial equity is achieved when race no longer determines socioeconomic outcomes through a process where those most impacted by structural racial inequity are involved in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their lives.

Racial equity goes beyond becoming anti-racist, it goes to understand what created these inequalities in the first place, specifically the socioeconomic issues behind them.

In the US, there has been a disproportionate death of Native American, Black and Latino Americans in comparison to white deaths, with the CDC reporting these groups being almost 3 times more likely to die from the COVID virus. This is a direct link to the socioeconomic class of people of color. Factors like discrimination, healthcare access, occupation, educational, income, wealth gaps and housing contribute to the increased risk of minorities falling sick.

Though 2020 has been a year of losses for Americans nationwide, the disproportionate deaths of POC is a telltale sign of the long-standing inequities and are rooted in a long history of systemic discrimination.