Pennsylvania county votes to make racism “a public health crisis”

In a rather startling fashion, racism is now a public health crisis in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania after local authority voted 12 to 3 on a motion that was based on a 2019 report that said Pittsburgh had one of the worst quality of life for black people in the United States.

The report compared access to public health services for different ethnicity groups in cities comparable to Pittsburgh’s social, economic, and political make-up.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported an aspect of the study that said:

“Black women’s poverty in Pittsburgh is higher than in 85% of other comparable cities; more black children grow up in poverty here than in 85% of other cities, according to the report.

Inequality based on race and gender follows kids throughout their school years, the report shows. Using middle school algebra as an indicator, overall Pittsburgh’s students are less likely to be enrolled, but the gap is pronounced for the city’s girls.

And when it comes to discipline in schools, “Pittsburgh refers more black girls to the police than 99% of similar cities.”

Local councilwoman Olivia Bennett who was the main sponsor of the motion to make racism a public health crisis noted what she believes is “a humanity issue.”

“This is not just a black issue; this is a humanity issue as we heard in the many statements that came before [the meeting],” the councilwoman said.

But the critics of the new legislation say it targets white people “as a collective” and blames them for social and economic inefficiencies.

Sam DeMarco, the Republican at-large on the council reportedly said:

“I do have a problem with the language. It seems that they’re calling out whites as a collective and claiming that whites are responsible for this … racial classification scheme and things like that. And I’m sorry, that language, I just can’t support it. To the folks on the right, we believe that white privilege is something that’s just something created by the left to try to create division.” 

Meanwhile, Allegheny County becomes the second after Milwaukee County in Wisconsin to make racism a public health crisis.


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