Masking Up: A COVID-19 Face-off between Anti-Mask Laws and Mandatory Mask Orders for Black Americans
Caroline Lawrence & COVID-Dynamic Team, Masking Up: A COVID-19 Face-off between Anti-Mask Laws and Mandatory Mask Orders for Black Americans, 11 Calif. L. Rev. Online 479 (November 2020).
38 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2020 Last revised: 20 Nov 2020
Date Written: September 18, 2020
Mandatory PPE orders during COVID-19 have forced Black Americans to weigh the dangers of disease against the dangers of selective enforcement and racial profiling. In states with civil rights-era anti-mask laws, both wearing and eschewing masks could lead to police interaction. This Article argues that anti-mask laws were only superficially intended to protect Black Americans, continue to harm minorities during COVID-19, and should be repealed. It motivates this policy by empirically showing the ineffectiveness of anti-mask laws and the statistically significant relationships between PPE usage patterns and race. A revisionist legal history reveals anti-mask laws’ racist underpinnings, further motivating their repeal.
Keywords: PPE, anti-mask laws, police brutality, COVID-19
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