Measles, Racism and How America Ignores Deadly Viruses

Photo: iStock

As America struggles to overcome the re-emergence of disturbing trends like Nazis, Watergate-style presidential scandals and—worst of all—fanny packs, white people have once again proven their resurrection powers by bringing back something even the most cynical among us could never have imagined.

The measles.

 According to the CDC, the 764 confirmed cases of measles between Jan. 1 and May 3, 2019, is the highest number in a quarter century. Make no mistake, it is white women who have brought back the measles. The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Immunization Survey echoes the findings of researchers, doctors, sociologists and epidemiologists, who say that white, college-educated women are responsible for the 2019 reboot of measles. Apparently, when health officials officially declared that they had officially eliminated the disease in 2000, white women were like:

“Hold my breast milk.”

Scientists attribute the recent outbreak to the growing number of affluent anti-vaxxers who are willing to forgo the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine in favor of pseudoscience disseminated through Facebook groups, during play dates and at neighborhood dog parks.

Advertisement

“Frankly, these Caucasian, suburban, educated parents believe they can Google the word vaccine and get as much information as anybody,” said Paul Offit, a professor of pediatrics and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The concern over the measles outbreak isn’t simply a personal concern. Parents who refuse to inoculate their offspring don’t just risk the safety of their own children, they put their neighbors, families and entire communities at risk.

It’s a perfect analogy for racism.

Like the measles, we like to pretend that we don’t know what prompted the rise in hate crimes, anti-immigrant sentiment and Islamophobia. It’s simple: We allowed a dim-witted, reality star with no particular economic or political expertise to inspire his uneducated white base. The public fell for it in the same way white women fell for Jenny McCarthy—a charismatic reality star with no particular medical expertise—and her beliefs about vaccines causing autism.

Advertisement

To be fair, Jenny McCarthy is no more responsible for the measles outbreak than Donald Trump is for the rise in white supremacy. They didn’t solely create the outbreak, but they became mascots and mouthpieces for the respective diseases, and the media gave them a voice, thereby normalizing their harmful rhetoric. America was plodding along, thinking we lived in a post-measles society until the alt-truth community started spreading insidious conspiracy theories to their fellow whites.

The only thing worse than their idiotic, unscientific refusals to vaccinate their children is their idiotic, unscientific cure for measles. These nitwits have actually started hosting “measles parties” in well-off white neighborhoods, hoping that gathering infected kids together with healthy children will help uninfected kids build up antibodies to the disease.

Advertisement

You heard that right. They think they can cure the disease by spreading it.

It sounds stupid until you realize that it’s the blueprint for racism. The same logic that makes them think—without a shred of evidence—that the MMR vaccine will somehow spontaneously combust into autism, makes them believe that talking about racism and confronting it will somehow create more racism. Instead, they insist that “there is only one race—the human race,” and that they don’t see color.

Advertisement

Both white supremacy and racism are communicable diseases that can “linger like a ghost,” and the symptoms aren’t always readily apparent. People who might not show any signs of being infected with the measles can still act as carriers, much like the people who insist they aren’t racist but spread their subconscious bigotry when they come in contact with others. The white supremacist alt-right movement has taken this same approach to solve America’s divisions by hosting “racism parties” like the Charlottesville, Va., Unite the Right March, the Patriots Prayer demonstration, or Donald Trump rallies.

You may have noticed that this article failed to address the opposite side of the argument that the MMR vaccine can cause autism in children. There is a very important reason for that. Aside from the fact that the initial 2004 study that started the unfounded claims was admittedly bogus, it is hard to win an argument with people who always answer: “That’s what they want you to believe.”

Advertisement

There isn’t an iota of evidence that shows autism comes from vaccines, but nothing can change the minds of those people, just like nothing can convince Trump’s base that he isn’t a liar, that white people aren’t oppressed or that a horde of Mexicans is not waiting to invade the United States and the only thing that can stop them is a wall. Using truth, logic and data to argue with people who believe something, no matter how plentiful the evidence, is a fruitless endeavor.

This is also why it’s impossible to change the mind of people who remain willingly blind to the truth about disproportionate police brutality, the criminal justice system, the underfunding of schools in black communities, economic inequality and the virus of racism. They will never admit that racism is a dangerous virus, just like the measles. But maybe I’m wrong.

Advertisement

After all, I’m not a doctor...

But I did stay in America last night.

Share This Story

About the author

Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.