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Virus, Floyd death merge in brutal blow to Black well-being

Doctors have known it for a long time, well before the resounding cries of “Black Lives Matter”: Black people suffer disproportionately.

They face countless challenges to good health, among them food, transportation and income. The stress of living with racism has very real, physical effects. And they are especially prone to diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases that can be tricky to manage even in normal times.

Then came COVID-19 and George Floyd — one killing Black people in alarming numbers, the other shining a harsh light on systemic racism. In a matter of months and nearly 8 minutes, it became clear that institutions designed to ensure the two most important things in life — health and safety — had converged to turn against one segment of the population in stark, horrific ways.

It’s a brutal blow to Black people’s well-being and renewed calls for racial justice in all realms including health care. Doctors and their patients are reeling from the impact.

“We are exhausted and we are not OK,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, a psychiatrist who just ended her yearlong term as president of the American Medical Association. She was speaking not so much for herself as for her community.

Police violence is always an injustice, “but its harm is elevated amid the remarkable stress people are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Harris and AMA Trustee Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld said in a recent online opinion article.

Floyd’s death is the most extreme example of over-policing that has long plagued

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Black Families Were Hit Hard by the Pandemic. The Effects on Children May Be Lasting.

Kourtney McGowan, who was furloughed when her workplace shut down in March, with her son, in Stockton, Calif. on June 9, 2020. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
Kourtney McGowan, who was furloughed when her workplace shut down in March, with her son, in Stockton, Calif. on June 9, 2020. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

Kourtney McGowan was furloughed in March, when the preschool she worked at closed during the coronavirus shutdown. The relationship with her longtime partner quickly crumbled under the pressure. They broke up “due to mental health issues” that she said started to appear with both of them being stressed out and inside all day.

McGowan said she waited almost a month to receive unemployment benefits in California, and the financial setback was a huge blow. “Every day I’m trying to play catch-up,” she said.

As McGowan’s workplace prepared to reopen, she met another obstacle many parents are faced with as states loosen restrictions: child care. She called the program her 8-year-old son previously attended, but it had no plans to reopen.

Hoping to return to work, McGowan asked her boss for a more flexible schedule. “I can’t have my son in my office for eight hours every day,” she said. Her boss said no. She had no plan for reliable child care, and her job replaced her.

More than 36 million Americans are unemployed in the aftermath of nationwide pandemic shutdowns. McGowan is one of the 1.7 million Black women who was working pre-coronavirus and wants to continue working but is left without a job.

According to research from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, working-age adults, children and Black

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Terry Crews Panned Online For His Cautionary Tweet On Black Lives Matter

Terry Crews again faced heated criticism on Tuesday over a tweet about the possible direction of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“If you are a child of God, you are my brother and sister. I have family of every race, creed and ideology,” the actor tweeted. “We must ensure #blacklivesmatter doesn’t morph into #blacklivesbetter.”

His comment ― like one he made earlier this month voicing concerns about “Black supremacy” ― drew swift and harsh backlash.

It prompted Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., to respond, “We’re so far from that bridge, Terry.”

She explained in her tweet:

CNN political commentator Keith Boykin, a former White House aide during President Bill Clinton’s administration, noted that “in 1883, the Supreme Court claimed a Civil Rights Act would make Black people ‘the special favorite of the laws.’”

He added: “Demanding Black equality is not Black supremacy” (and also clarified his initial mischaracterization of Crews’ tweet).

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Austin schools suspend Black students nearly 5 times as often as white students

Mendez Middle School students walk to class in March 2019 in Austin, Texas. Austin district records show that Black and Latino students are suspended at higher rates than white students.
Mendez Middle School students walk to class in March 2019 in Austin, Texas. Austin district records show that Black and Latino students are suspended at higher rates than white students.

AUSTIN, Texas – As the nation focuses on racism in police departments after the death of George Floyd and widespread protests, similar conversations are happening in school districts, where, in places like Texas’ capital, Black students are more likely to be suspended, charged with crimes for misbehavior and expelled.

Black students were suspended at nearly five times the rate of white students in the Austin school district in the 2018-19 school year, according to records obtained by the American-Statesman of the USA TODAY Network through the Texas Public Information Act. These statistics mirror regional and national numbers that have for years shown racial inequality in suspension rates in schools.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released data in 2014 showing that Black students are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of white students in the United States. The data obtained by the Statesman show that disparity in the Austin district in recent years has been even greater.

In the 2018-19 school year, when the Austin district gave 2,599 out-of-school suspensions, 7.4% of the district’s Black students were suspended, compared with 3.6% percent of Hispanic students and 1.5% of white students. That’s similar to the 2017-18 school year, when the district gave out-of-school suspensions to 8.2% of Black students, 3.9% of Hispanic students and 1.6% of

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In this era of protest over racism, will colleges embrace Black student activists?

<span class="caption">Will protests on campus look different after COVID-19?</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/liliana-ruiz-left-and-jacqueline-ramirez-middle-join-news-photo/1222449974?adppopup=true" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Al Seib/Getty Images">Al Seib/Getty Images</a></span>
Will protests on campus look different after COVID-19? Al Seib/Getty Images

In 2018, sociologist Ted Thornhill found that Black students who profess an interest in fighting racism were less likely to get a response from college admission officers than other Black students when inquiring about whether they would be a good fit for a particular college. In light of the nationwide anti-racism protests sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, when a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, The Conversation reached out to Thornhill for his thoughts on whether Black activist students might be more welcome on campus now than before. The Q&A, edited for brevity, is below:

Do you expect wider acceptance of Black activism on college campuses?

Will some number of colleges and universities that did not embrace Black student activists previously do so now? Perhaps a few. However, I believe more will work, directly and indirectly, to ensure these students never set a foot on their respective campuses.

According to a recent Pew poll, 60% of whites support the Black Lives Matter movement. That means 40% do not. Certainly, some of those whites opposed or indifferent to Black Lives Matter work in higher education.

And the 60% who do support Black Lives Matter is likely somewhat inflated due to social desirability bias, which is when people give socially acceptable answers to research questions instead of saying how they really feel. In sum, there is good reason

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