Racism: a public health crisis

North Carolina County Passes Resolutions Supporting Reparations

By Raven Clabough, August 6, 2020 – Updated 8-18-2020, Related Stories

Buncombe County in North Carolina passed a resolution on Tuesday by a 4-3 vote in support of reparations for black residents, the Daily Wire reports. As if that wasn’t enough pandering to identity politics, another resolution was passed to declare racism a public-health crisis.

Buncombe County’s resolution states, “Slavery represented an irreconcilable contradiction in our nation’s founding: a young democracy committed to the ideals of liberty and justice and yet actively perpetuating the degradation of Black people. This contradiction — what some have called our nation’s original sin — has yet to be fully addressed and systemic racism continues to this day.”

Commissioner Amanda Edwards, who drafted the resolution, added, “It is not a plan to write checks but to invest in programs and services for the communities of color,” as Fox Carolina reported.

The Buncombe County website lists areas of racial disparity based on data from 2018 that will be targeted by the funds:

Life expectancy for Black residents was, on average, 5.9 years shorter (73.4 years) compared to white residents (79.3 years).

The overall death rate for Black residents was 38% higher than white residents.

In 2016, 13.7% of whites experienced poverty compared to 27.2% of Blacks and 36.4% of Hispanics.

The average per capita income for whites was $28,480 compared to $15,335 for Blacks and $13,121 for Hispanics.

“Based on this research and the resolution, County staff is directed to look for ways to eliminate racial disparities in areas such as education, housing, health, the justice system, and other areas,” the site reads. “There is also a focus to look inward at County policies and practices that could unintentionally support racism such as purchasing and hiring practices.”

But some things cannot be fixed by money alone, and placing the blame for these disparities solely on “racism” ignores a slew of other contributing factors that come from individual choice, economics, politics, and especially liberal policies. Yet, the Left has seized upon the divisive political climate made worse by the mainstream media’s daily diatribes on persistent “racism” to advance the narrative that reparations and wealth redistribution are a reasonable and viable solution.

Of course, the Left’s concern isn’t really racial equality, but about identity politics. As we noted in a July 17 article about a similar resolution in Asheville, North Carolina, “This is about politics — pure and simple. This is about rewarding a so-called victim group with government goodies in exchange for votes — even on the local level.”

Perhaps that is why Buncombe County Board of Commissioners also passed a resolution declaring racism to be a public-health crisis on Tuesday:

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners assert that racism is a public health and safety crisis affecting our entire County and should be treated with the urgency and funding of a public health and safety emergency. Looking at racism in this way offers policymakers, county management, criminal justice stakeholders, health officials, and others an opportunity to analyze data and discuss how to dismantle or change problematic institutions. Buncombe County will seek to promote racial equity through policies approved by the Board of Commissioners and will encourage other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health and safety crisis as well.

Buncombe County isn’t the first to do this. Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Wisconsin, and more than 20 cities and counties nationwide have made similar declarations. Local lawmakers and medical professionals in California are also laying out plans to have racism declared a public-health crisis throughout the state.

North Carolina seems to be leading the way on the reparations movement, however. Earlier this month, the city council of Asheville, located in Buncombe County, voted unanimously to approve reparations for black residents which will come in the form of funds aimed at areas where racial disparities exist.

Asheville Councilman Keith Young, one of the two black members on the council, said at the time of the reparations vote, “Hundreds of years of black blood spilled that basically fills the cup that we drink from today.”

Sheneika Smith, the other black member on the council, added, “A lot of the feedback that we’ve gotten so far by email is that you know, ‘Why should we pay for what happened during slavery?’ And my pushback against that is reparations is more than restitution for what happened during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It is a dark evil sin of chattel slavery that is the root of all injustice and inequity that is at work in American life today.”

The Asheville City Council even created a Community Reparations Commission, for which Buncombe County’s commissioners voted to select representatives on Tuesday.

Commissioner Brownie Newman said in support of the resolution, “The civil rights era is not over, will still have a lot of work to do.”

Supporters of the reparations resolution as much as admitted the move was political. When commissioner Anthony Penland, who voted against the resolution, said the resolution was redundant because there was already a strategic plan in place to address the issues contributing to racial disparities, Commissioner Edwards responded, “The strategic plan was written for all of Buncombe County residents — Black, white, purple, polka dot, everyone. What we are doing this evening is pulling a little bit out from that strategic plan and saying we see you, we hear you and we are committed to ensuring that the work behind that will support that.”


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