Virus Deaths: Racism?

I have been reading and watching the growing number of disturbing reports in Britain that claim the fact that virus deaths are disproportionate in people from backgrounds that include African, West Indian, and the Indian sub-continent are ‘deliberate negligence’. There is a Facebook group of British Muslims who openly accuse the NHS and the government of allowing their relatives to die, because of their ethnicity. One member even called it ‘ethnic cleansing’.

Now I see on the BBC that the new Labour Party leader is calling for a public enquiry into this, and it is to be led by Baroness Lawrence, a black woman who is famous for campaigning for justice for her murdered son many years ago.

I have to say that I personally find these accusations to be appalling. I worked in the NHS for 22 years, and know many who still do, including my own wife. I never saw any different treatment given to non-white people, and I worked in an area of huge cultural diversity.

To save Baroness Lawrence the time, and to save public expenditure, I can offer the following suggestions about why the differential in deaths in ethnic minority groups might be happening. And it has nothing to do with racism, as anyone who knows me well will affirm that I am not racist.

1) Traditional living conditions, and culture.
It is rare these days for white British extended families to continue to live in the same house. You might be hard-pressed to find a house where grandparents, parents, children, and aunts and uncles all share the same dwelling. However, in many families with an Indian and Pakistani background that is NOT unusual. The same applies to some West Indian and African families. Therefore, their chances of infecting more people when they return from work or shopping trips are far greater.
2) Religion.
Many people of the Muslim faith, and some Evangelical Christian groups come from those same backgrounds. Despite the current restrictions, it has been noted that some are still gathering in groups for religious services and celebrations. This is not the case with prdominantly white Church of England and Catholic followers.
3) City living.
The majority of people from those backgrounds live in areas where other people from those backgrounds also live. And they tend to be in larger cities, like London, Manchester and Birmingham. In Bradford, Yorkshire, Muslims from ethnic backgrounds make up 25% of the population. Therefore, living in populous towns and cities makes those people more susceptible to becoming infected.
4) Pre-existing medical conditions.
I can tell you from years of personal experience that people from those ethnic groups have a higher than average incidence of Diabetes. Much of this is caused by diet and lack of exercise, especially in the older age groups. They also have a very high rate of kidney falure, and the need for regular dialysis. This is supected to be genetic in origin. Being generally ill before the arrival of Covid-19 means you are much more likely to die, if you are infected. That is commonsense, not racism.

Much has been made of economic factors affecting survival. If this was the case, then the black and Indian doctors and nurses who have died would not have been affected, surely? Their income is above average, and in the case of surgeons, very high. And just as many white doctors and nurses have been infected and died. This is about being constantly exposed to infection. Not about how much you earn, and whether or not you are unemplyed and live on a housing estate.

By contrast, white British families tend to live separately. Children move out of home earlier, and grandparents rarely live in the family home. Uncles and aunts have their own accommodation, and family gatherings are usually limited to birthdays, weddings, and funerals. Our culture changed over the decades since my youth, but theirs did not. It’s not racist, it is just a fact. White British people have also been abandoning organised religion in huge numbers over the past forty years. Church attendances are falling, and nobody I know ever goes to any form of religious services. So, less gatherings, not racism.

In these difficult times, the last thing we need is criticism of the NHS, itself an employer of a huge percentage of staff from those same ethnic minorities claiming that those same people are actively allowing their relatives to die, and in some cases accusing them of facilitating their death by mistreatment.

Baroness Lawrence and the Labour leader should know better than to become involved in this sham of an enquiry.

40 comments

  1. Brendan Birth

    I don’t know about the UK, but in the US I think food deserts could be a factor. Lots of low income communities of color here are food deserts, which means they have low or no access in their neighborhoods to grocery stores that have things like fresh produce…the sorts of food that can lower your risk of many preexisting conditions. At least you all have the NHS though, so you don’t have to deal with poor or no health care insurance as a complicating factor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Thanks, Brendan. Pretty much everywhere in Britain has the same range of well-known supermarkets and chain stores. In fact, I am sure every city and town has exactly the same ones, with the same buying opportunities. Luckily, we do indeed have the NHS, but depending where you live, waiting times for treatment can be a big issue. However, the NHS has shown its true value in this pandemic, with immediate access to emergency treatment for everyone, despite some propaganda to the contrary.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Virus Deaths: Racism? | Die Erste Eslarner Zeitung – Aus und über Eslarn, sowie die bayerisch-tschechische Region! – Additional survival tricks
  3. Eddy Winko

    I heard about the investigation but hadn’t realised it was in reaction to a racist suggestion by a Muslim group. You point out what I thought had become common knowledge about why different ethnicities where affected more severely.
    Labour rising to this is mad, they may as well investigate the truth behind 5G spreading Covid, its a load of bollocks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Load of bollocks is the right phrase, Eddy. Starmer is a knob, another Blair.
      It is not just the Muslim group provoking it, they are all at it, jumping on the ‘it’s because we are black’ bandwagon. They seem to forget that around 50% of all NHS staff are as well, especially in big cities.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. democratizemoney

    I am fairly sure most Americans will not agree with me, but we live in a structured racist society that pretends it is not so. In my 76 years, I have spent 4 days in the United Kingdom and am totally unqualified to comment on your society. Here, any charge of racism need to be examined and examined when it is made, there is no time that it is inappropriate to look into discrimination of any sort. Here, any loud claims of “we are not racist” mask a reality. I do hope it is not the same there. Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 2 people

    • beetleypete

      Racism exists here, undoubtedly. It is often violent, and frequently accepted in the mainstream too. But where medical care and attention is concerned, that allegation is spiteful, misinformed, and completely untrue.
      Best wishes,Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. johnrieber

    Pete, if this horrible pandemic causes us to look at how we live, and what puts certain ethnic groups at higher risk, bravo. There is plenty of time for that AFTER we solve this issue…finger pointing like what you see in the US right now has NO positive impact on fighting the virus, just politicizes everything…the world is completely upside down right now in the worst ways

    Liked by 1 person

  6. theshammuramat

    The underlying problem is income disparity and poverty in the US. We do not have a public health system here such as the one in England so people cannot afford to take care of their health and address underlying conditions.

    I have often thought that one of the best things Europe, the UK and US could do in the public education system is to teach kids and their parents how one can eat well without spending a lot of money. A program of community gardens in cities would be tremendously helpful. Imagine if every building had a community garden on it’s roof and walls and also a vacant lot beside it. All the residents could then raise bees, grow vegetables and flowers to feed the residents of their buildings. Also community exercise programs like the Chinese who encourage city residents to come out every morning and exercise together doing Tai Chi. In that way we change a culture and take into account resources. A great role for government and one it should be taking asap.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. lobotero

    My state of Mississippi….we have had 5150 cases of which have been 2115 Black…..of these 201 have died of which 125 have been black so I can see why their is concern…but to blame the responders is silly. chuq

    Liked by 1 person

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