The New York City Board of Health passed a resolution on Monday, Oct. 18, declaring that racism is a “public health crisis” based on the notion that the health care system is racist because it disproportionately affects black communities and other “non-white” minorities.
“To build a healthier New York City, we must confront racism as a public health crisis,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. “The COVID-19 pandemic magnified inequities, leading to suffering disproportionately borne by communities of color in our City and across our nation. But these inequities are not inevitable. Today is an historic day for the country’s oldest Board of Health to officially recognize this crisis and demand action.”
Among the concrete actions, the resolution directs the health department to conduct an investigation and prove with solid examples that it failed to invest in health programs in majority African American and other minority neighborhoods.
It should also create a “Data for Equality” group with which it intends to identify what, if any, factors cause health coverage to be so “unequal” towards the black population, and with the results will make recommendations to the NYC ‘Commission on Racial Justice’ to amend the city’s constitution to combat medical-related racism.
However, as the New York Post specifies, currently, health authorities already classify deaths, accidents, illnesses, and so on by race, gender, and other demographics so that inferences could be drawn about some of the factors if any.
Nor are there any laws or regulations across the U.S. that deny medical services to people based on their race, color, religion, or gender.
At the same time, the health department should review the New York City Sanitary Code in consultation with community organizations to see if it finds racist elements in it.
The New York City Board of Health consists of eleven councilors elected by Mayor Bill De Blasio, who is ending his second and last term at the end of this year.
In April of this year, the Center for Communicable Diseases (CDC) declared that ‘structural racism’ in the United States was a public health threat.
In June 2020, following the in-custody death of George Floyd, the city health department declared racism a public health crisis, but it was not until this Monday that it took concrete action.
“The murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers is part of the system of racism that permits police brutality, unjust policing and mass incarceration,’ the department wrote in June,” the health department wrote on its Twitter account in June.
The language used in the resolution resembles those who support the Critical Race Theory (CRT), which has generated great debate among parents and education authorities across the country.
Proponents of CRT claim that American society was established and is based on the white man subjugating the black man and is structurally racist while denouncing white wealth and positions as part of their ‘white privilege,’ eventually teaching that blacks are oppressed victims of whites.
Conservatives and those who oppose CRT argue that the teachings use the lens of race to look at others, dismissing the moral character of people as Martin Luther King Jr. famously said.
After some incidents between parents who oppose CRT teaching and school boards and one of the largest teachers’ unions in the country sent a letter to President Biden asking for his intervention, the Department of Justice announced that it would investigate those incidents, targeting primarily parents.