Social distancing is extremely important due to the infectious nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. That’s why the CDC has recommended masks, and sometimes this is all enforced by policing. But taking a closer look shows racism is still a major factor in how this plays out.
While predominantly white masses gather unbothered by police in parks in Manhattan, New York, Black people are attacked and brutalized.
Recently, numerous reports of Black men being attacked by the NYPD thanks to “social distancing enforcement” have popped up. The numbers show why.
When it comes to New York’s social distancing violations, “of those arrested, 35 people were black, four were Hispanic and one was white.” The implications here are not good, especially given the fact jails are incubators for COVID-19.
Pandemic policing reflects a much larger problem.
We are not going to arrest, jail, or imprison our way out of a pandemic. The pandemic is exacerbated by prisons and jails, not helped by it. We should be pushing for these facilities to release people and deprioritize policing as much as possible. It’s counterproductive in so many ways.
Black people cannot afford to buy into the idea that “tough-on-crime” solutions are the key to every single problem. They’re not. Police brutality is a public health problem, not a public health solution - and we’re dying disproportionately from it in addition to COVID-19!