Bad Apples or a Rotten Tree: Ameliorating the Double Pandemic of COVID-19 and Racial Economic Inequality
Montana Law Review, Vol. 82, No. 1 (2021)
39 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2020 Last revised: 9 Jun 2021
Black Lives Matter signs pepper our rural, middle class neighborhood. The lawn signs raise a fundamental question: if Black Lives Matter, what will it take to reverse the longstanding trend that has left many dead and so many others, perhaps all others, suffering? What will it take to create some semblance of equality and equity across racial lines in America?
Part I of this essay discusses race and Covid 19. It reviews and updates statistics on Covid deaths and race, and discusses some of the reasons for the racial disparities in Covid deaths. Part II briefly reviews the stratification of income and wealth along racial lines. Part III provides background and texture on how this problem of unequal income, credit terms, and wealth arose in the first place. It describes economic racism and violence by private citizens, as well as governmental racism, credit discrimination, displacement, and segregation.
Part IV considers solutions directly related to the wrongs committed by our government against Americans of color, particularly Black Americans. The momentum of Black Lives Matter movement and other similar societal sentiments can help reduce American racial violence, racism, and discrimination, but only if we have concrete policies in place to right past wrongs. While physical racial violence is front and center in today’s Black Lives Matter discussions, including systemic changes designed to end policy brutality, addressing economic racism and disenfranchisement is just as important in remedying the explicit segregation policies the U.S, a legacy tied directly to poverty, police brutality, and death.
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