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Burning Spear News

It’s not just the virus: colonial doctors, hospitals are killing us. We need our own political, economic power

Jun 4, 2020
Marisa Martinez, African People’s Socialist Party, Seattle

“The latest overall COVID-19 mortality rate for Black Americans is 2.4 times as high as the rate for Whites and 2.2 times as high as the rate for Asians and Latinos,” a new study released on May 20 by the APM Research Lab revealed.

“The Color of Coronavirus: COVID-19 deaths by race and ethnicity in the U.S.” showed what we already knew. African (black) people bear the brunt of the impact of the pandemic, followed closely by Indigenous people (Latinos) and Asian people here in the United States.

Throughout the U.S. as a whole, 1 in 2,000 African people has died (or 50.3 per 100,000), while 1 in 4,300 Asian and Indigenous people has died (or 22.7 and 22.9, respectively, per 100,000) and 1 in 4,700 white people has died (or 20.7 per 100,000), the study reported. 

In New York City, African people died from COVID-19 at a rate of at least 2 per every 1000 Africans living there.

The study also noted the lack of data for Indigenous people in the U.S. overall but noted that, “in Arizona, the Indigenous mortality rate is more than five times the rate for all other groups, while in New Mexico, the rate exceeds seven times all other groups.”

The study went on to report on the enormous death rate of African people from the virus: 

“In Kansas, Black residents are 7 times more likely to die than White residents. In Wisconsin and Washington D.C., the rate among Blacks is 6 times as high as it is for Whites, while in Michigan and Missouri, it is 5 times greater. 

“In Arkansas, Illinois, New York, South Carolina and Tennessee, Blacks are 3 times more likely to die of the virus than Whites. In many states, the virus is also killing Black residents several multiples more often than Asian and Latino residents.

“Disproportionately high mortality is more widespread for Black Americans than any other group.”

This is why as soon as the COVID-19 virus began showing up in the U.S. the African People’s Socialist Party immediately named it the “colonialvirus.” 

We didn’t know exactly how the virus would play out, but we knew it would come down on our community and those of Indigenous, Mexican and other colonized people in a fierce way.

As the months pass by during this pandemic, the facts have borne this out on every front. It has been not just the disease itself that is killing us, but the brutal treatment we receive in colonial hospitals in our communities. 

This is why we built the Black Power Blueprint—power in the hands of the African working class

As Chairman Omali Yeshitela has stated, “this is not a medical problem; this is a political problem. The only answer is to build political and economic power over our lives.”

No testing is available in our communities and many of us died after having been sent home from hospitals after we went there with severe symptoms.

The U.S. medical system has always treated African people as guinea pigs to experiment on or with disdain, given substandard care if any at all!

Even The New York Times noted on May 10 that “fear among many families, social scientists and public health experts that racial bias might be contributing to the disproportionately high rate at which the novel coronavirus is killing African-Americans.”

The article also pointed out that African people in the U.S. were six times less likely to get treatment or testing for COVID-19 than white patients.

The New York Times article tells the stories of African patients who died after they were turned away by medical workers—basically murder by the colonial healthcare system.  

One example is grief-stricken Ami Relf, whose brother died in their mother’s basement in Bellwood, IL after following hospital orders to self-quarantine. She said, “When I finally get him to go to seek help, he’s turned away. If he was a middle-aged white woman, would they have turned her away?”

Another case was “Gary Fowler, 56, went to the emergency rooms of three metro Detroit hospitals in the weeks leading up to his death, begging for a coronavirus test, begging for help because he was having difficulty breathing, but was repeatedly turned away,” his son Keith said. 

“‘My dad passed at home, and no one tried to help him,’ Keith, 33, of northwest Detroit said through tears. ‘He asked for help, and they sent him away. They turned him away.’"

As African People’s Socialist Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela has summed up, disasters and epidemics that massively kill African people are the norm. 

“It is normal when horrible things happen to African people. Three hundred thousand Africans were killed in Haiti in one day. Mudslides in Sierra Leone killed 1,400 African people and left over 3,000 homeless. In Boston the average wealth for African families is only $8 while the average white family has $240,000.

“This is not enough to spark outrage because we live in colonial desperation all the time. This is what happens to us all the time on a daily basis. We saw nothing urgent about it and we can have a lackadaisical approach. 

“This is the colonial norm. Now with the COVID-19, the only thing that makes it not normal is that it's not just Africans and Indigenous who are being affected. The fundamental issue is we don’t have power. A medical problem for colonized people is disastrous. Our Party is building political and economic power in our own hands to make sure these disasters and epidemics no long affect us in the same way ever again.”

On a recent Black Power Talks radio show interview, Chairman Omali drew connections between COVID-19 and Hurricane Katrina: 

“The same place where you see the concentration of the pandemic in this country in New Orleans and Louisiana—that was where we had the hurricane where thousands of African people lost their lives. Thousands of Africans were displaced and some have never even gone back to their homes as a consequence and even how Katrina was used as a form of gentrifying New Orleans which was too black and too strong so we have to have our own capacity, self-determination over our own lives.”

This is why our Party has always built projects for dual and contending power in the hands of the African working class.

We are fighting colonialism, the total domination of white power over every aspect of our lives for profit for the colonizer (white) nation!

We have built the Black Power Blueprint projects in North St. Louis and more than 50 other economic institutions for power throughout the U.S.

We are fighting to be our own government, the government of the African working class, to seize power and determine our own future! 

To learn more about the Black Power Blueprint, go to blackpowerblueprint.org.

To join The People's War and the African People's Socialist Party, go to apspuhuru.org

Join the worldwide African Revolution!

 

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