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If you’ve read or watched news in the past few years, you’ve inevitably come across a story that something bad “disproportionately affects” some group or other, usually the “underserved community” of the hour. COVID unfairly targets this bunch, hurricanes go out of their way to impact those folks, and crappy ice cream is worse for some people than it is for you.
Rarely do these headlines indicate why the “disproportionate” outcome is happening in the first place, or what should be done about it. The phrase is meant to make conservatives feel guilty—because it’s clearly their fault—and make progressives feel virtuous because it reinforces their belief that everything is unfair and everyone’s a victim.
It’s the laziest phrase in progressivism and it’s an easy way for MSNBC, The Washington Post, and leftist politicians to effortlessly tout their woke bona fides, divide people, and conjure up inflammatory narratives.
For instance, if you’re a leftist, you believe that climate change has a disproportionate effect on women and girls, and by implication favors men (presumably white and cis):
Belgium supports the historic outcome of #CSW66 with agreed conclusions recognising the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and girls. 🌏
States must adopt a gender-responsive approach to climate change, with women and girls in the lead. 👧👩 pic.twitter.com/uGc3SwLglV
— Belgium UN New York (@BelgiumUN) March 26, 2022
Another case in point: Daylight Savings Time. When you think of the biennial clock change, you probably groan at the loss of an hour’s sleep in springtime or relish the extra hour you get in the fall. What probably doesn’t enter your mind, unless you work at CNN, is racism.
My colleague Mike Miller brilliantly writes about how a time change is really just a disguised plot to keep minorities down:
According to CNN, “some researchers” worry about the potential effects that continuing to change Standard Time twice each year may have on “sleep health inequities.” Call me “systemically racist,” but I don’t understand.
I’ve heard it all, now. Changing our clocks twice a year is “racist.” Do these idiots understand how stupid they sound? https://t.co/HGsqEbowfr
— Buzz Patterson (@BuzzPatterson) November 26, 2022
Miller goes on to investigate what on earth CNN thinks could possibly be racist about Daylight Savings, and finds that researchers found that sleep disorders “are more prevalent in Black, Asian, and Hispanic or Latino communities.” Uh-huh. Right. Well even if you believe that—which I’m finding difficult—what the heck does it have to do with the time change?
Apparently virtually nothing. The underlying sleep problem in certain communities exists (supposedly), and it’s not Daylight Savings that caused them. The CNN thought process on this and so many other stories: there’s something bad. Some minorities have problems with this something. Therefore that something is RAAAAAACIST!
Think this is an isolated event and I’m being histrionic? A duckduckgo search for the term “disproportionately affects” reveals that COVID, gentrification, diseases, climate change, Daylight Savings, obesity, the “child care crisis,” war, and STDs all… don’t make me say it… affect the marginalized disproportionately. And that’s just the first page of results.
Oh, and Alzheimer’s is worse for black families, while COVID and “other global crises” impact women and girls more severely:
The COVID-pandemic & other global crises 🌍disproportionately impacts women and girls, particularly those further marginalized by poverty & disabilities.
— GBV Prevention Net (@GBVnet) November 25, 2022
I’m waiting for the inevitable moment when some sadsack at MSNBC goes with the story, “Poverty disproportionately affects the poor.” I bet their editors won’t even blink.
How about this breaking news? Turns out, if you commit a crime, you might experience a disproportionate outcome compared to someone who didn’t:
Georgia's high court reinstated the state's six-week ban on abortion today.
The ban disproportionately affects the record number of Georgians on probation, who face prohibitions on traveling out of state, Bolts reported: https://t.co/amLr4mwbAp
— Bolts (@boltsmag) November 23, 2022
One of the problems with these stories is that they mask the real problems. Is Alzheimer’s racist, brewed in a lab to attack black people harder than the rest of the population? No, the story here is that African Americans in the U.S. have higher rates of health issues than other groups. Baltimore’s WBAL 11 reports (although they manage to squeeze in the racism angle anyway):
African Americans are more apt to have high blood pressure, hypertension, heart disease, depression, depression as a result of maybe racism and prejudice that they have experienced. So, all of those situations can really play down the path to Alzheimer’s.
The same is true of COVID: despite hundreds of articles describing its disproportionate impact on minority communities, it wasn’t (as far as we know) designed to discriminate against people of color. It does however prey on the obese, the elderly, and those with other comorbidities that minority groups often have more of.
Meanwhile, it’s hard to know why the planet’s environment itself would be so filled with hate:
— IU Environmental Resilience Institute (@Prepared4Change) November 21, 2022
The truth is, everything in the world affects people disproportionately. “Pregnancy complications have a disproportionate effect on women” is (even in 2022) a true statement, but it would make a rather absurd headline. The poor and the struggling often face challenges that the wealthy might not, but it’s only certain narratives that get the treatment. We never see headlines like, “Biden’s Inflation Has a Disproportionate Impact on the Poor,” or “Gavin Newsom’s Gas Taxes Have a Disproportionate Effect on Blacks.” Both these headlines would be true, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever see them.
That’s because the whole “disproportionately affects” phrase is not meant to unify or solve problems. For the mainstream media, it’s a quick way to inject implied racism, sexism, and homophobia into almost any topic, with very little effort required. Alzheimer’s, poverty, and all the world’s ills are bad whether a straight white man or a Native American person with a uterus is harmed.
Since those topics are their obsession in the 21st century, they will do virtually anything to politicize almost any subject, and this is one of the corrupt ways they do it.
Don’t fall for it.