The mainstream media has revealed that people from Black and minority ethnic communities (BAME) are more likely to die from the Covid 19 virus due to possible socioeconomic factors but there is evidence to suggest that people from BAME backgrounds are suffering from a dual pandemic, racism and Covid-19.
A Guardian article by Robert Booth and Caelainn Barr (07/05/2020), says that people from BAME communities are four times more likely to die from the Covid 19 virus. Black people four times more likely to die from Covid-19 ONS finds
Many experts and researchers have cited socioeconomic and genetic factors for the possible reasons why people from BAME backgrounds are overrepresented in the Covid-19 death statistics.
We have been told the people from BAME communities are more likely to live in poverty and to live in overcrowded housing. In Booth and Barr’s article, Zubaida Haque, who is the deputy director of the race equality think tank Runnymede Trust, stated that these socioeconomic factors are rooted in racial inequality.
Economic racism is a topic that I have covered in previous articles such as Economic racism responsible for wealth gap increase between whites and African-Americans says report. and The failure of multiculturalism is the failure of race relations.
In these articles I detail the devastating impact that racism has on a BAME family. Zubaida Haque says that because of racism people from BAME communities are more likely to live in deprived areas, overcrowded housing and face higher levels of unemployment.
These factors are believed to be the contributing reasons to why people in BAME communities are dying at a disproportionate rate in comparison to the indigenous English communities.
In a revealing article on the British Heart Foundation website, it is stated that:
“BAME groups are disproportionately represented in frontline roles, whether that is in the NHS or in other public facing roles such as retail and transport. These jobs increase the risk of exposure to coronavirus. In London, 67% of the adult social care workforce are from BAME backgrounds.
According to NHS Workforce Statistics, people with BAME backgrounds account for approximately 21 per cent of staff, including approximately 20 per cent of nursing and support staff and 44 per cent of medical staff. However, individuals with BAME backgrounds account for 63 per cent, 64 per cent and 95 per cent of deaths in the same staff groups. Early findings from looking at these data showed 79% of these deaths were people working in hospitals. (Data supplied by Simon Lennane, NHS GP in Hertfordshire)” (Why are so many black and ethnic minority people dying from coronavirus – and what does it have to do with heart disease?)
I believe that Zubaida Haque’s and the British Heart Foundation’s points are actually linked.
Haque points to racism to one of the reasons why BAME communities are dying more from Covid-19, and I would argue that racism is responsible for BAME groups being disproportionately represented in frontline NHS roles, in retail and public transport.
Once the Covid-19 virus is at a manageable rate there is no doubt that there will be questions asked about the UK government’s handling of the crises.
There will most likely also be an enquiry into why people from BAME backgrounds died at four times the rate of whites.
When this happens, I do hope that we as a society can have a mature and grown up debate about the disease of racism. For decades there has been fruitless debates and discussions about race relations in Britain and there has arguably been little change.
Will the many deaths of people from BAME backgrounds on the frontline of the NHS and in transport provoke national sympathy and more importantly a new respect for the contributions of BAME communities in the UK?
Will British people begin to feel disgusted at the ideology of racism peddled by the mainstream media and politicians when it suits them.
It is apt that today is VE Day. Only recently has the mainstream media began to tell the stories of people from BAME backgrounds who fought in World War I and World War II.
Covid-19 has been labelled a ‘war’ by the media and once again people from BAME backgrounds have given their lives on the front lines. If self sacrifice is not enough to overcome the hatred and disease of racism then sadly perhaps nothing ever will.
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