Kmele Foster: The Destructive Result of Focusing on Equity vs. Equality | Video

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Kmele Foster, the host of “The Fifth Column” podcast, made viral comments about race issues and the COVID-19 crisis Friday on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

“A life lost to COVID,” he said. “Is a life that matters. And we can focus on the people who are vulnerable without making this about race.”

In response to an argument that Latinos are more likely to be hospitalized for COVID, he explained: “The important point is it isn’t fundamentally about race. You can’t un-Hispanic’ them. There may be different issues in their communities. It could be that they live in homes with more people. It could be that they live in more urban centers. If that’s the case, the policy you’re tailoring is for people in urban centers, not Latinos.”

KMELE FOSTER: The focus on “racial equity” rather than on “outcomes” is something that is rather new. But seems to have taken the country by storm.

BILL MAHER: Equity meaning as opposed to equality? Can you give a practical example of that?

MKELE FOSTER: COVID, which we were just talking about. We know that the most vulnerable population when it comes to Covid are older people; if I take people over the age of 55, that’s 80% of the deaths. There have been actual conversations about prioritizing people on the basis of their race, because Covid is said to disproportionally impact black people relative to white people.

It is a ridiculous proposition, but it’s a proposition that has found its way in the mouths of governors — here in California, the pages of The New York Times, we’re actively talking about this kind of ridiculous —

We actually know, when we look at the global impact of Covid, in the United States, again, 80% of the people who are dying are older; around 18% of the people dying are black.

A life lost to Covid, is a life that matters. And we can focus on the people who are vulnerable, without making this about race. Making this about race actually only obscures the actual issue.

PETER HAMBY, GUEST: If you can separate race from economic insecurity, sure. Right? Hispanics are hospitalized at 3-4 times the rate of white people for a variety of reasons. They’re essential workers, they’re riding the bus.

KMELE FOSTER: The important point is it isn’t fundamentally about race. You can’t un-Hispanic’ them. There may be different issues in their communities. It could be that they live in homes with more people. It could be that they live in more urban centers.

If that’s the case, the policy you’re tailoring is for people in urban centers, not Latinos.

This is a confusion of categories that is actually distracting us from forging good policy. What you get is great soundbites; you don’t actually fix problems.





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