Now It's Just Getting Silly: Salt Lake City Declares 'Racism' a 'Public Health Crisis'

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

I meant that. The “silly” part. It’s almost like left-wingers sit around all day trying to outdo one another by coming up with something else to call “racist” — the fault, of course, of “White supremacy.” But now, the mayor of Salt Lake City and seven members of the city council have kicked it up a notch —adopting a joint resolution that takes the silliness a step further —by declaring “racism” itself a “public health crisis.”

A press release from the office of Mayor Erin Mendenhall on Tuesday reads:

A resolution to declare racism a public health crisis was initially proposed to the City by a group of community leaders who are in or working toward health-related careers, and it was reviewed and approved by both the City’s Human Rights Coalition and the Commission on Racial Equity in Policing.

“This is an important declaration for us to make as a city,” Mendenhall said, as quoted in the press release. “Not only are we publicly acknowledging the existence of a grave inequity that many in our community have known and experienced for so long, but we are also committing ourselves to the creation of policies and ordinances that are anti-racist.”

OK. But, “public health crisis”? From the release:

Racism directly impacts access to numerous everyday resources, including education, housing, employment, and healthcare. The cascading effects are known to result in negative outcomes for physical and mental health.

Over the course of the pandemic, the impacts of racism on public health and the heavier burden on the City’s communities of color have been well documented.

At the height of the pandemic, odds of infection were three times more likely in Glendale and two times more likely in Rose Park, where there are high percentages of Latino and nonwhite residents.

Additionally, Latino communities account for 14.2% of Utah’s population, but 40% of the state’s COVID-19 cases, and American Indian and Alaskan Native communities in Utah had a case fatality rate that is roughly three times higher than the state average.

I see. So “systemic racism” — a product of “White supremacy” — has been the cause of the pandemic’s assumed disproportionate impact on minority communities in Salt Lake City? [rolling-eyes emoji]

“There is no doubt of the crisis,” said City Council Chair Amy Fowler, according to the press release. “Our society is burdened with bigotry and all the hatred that comes with it. Indeed, it is a moral imperative to combat racism, discrimination, and inequities in all their forms.”

And the declaration, itself? What have the mayor and seven city council members declared they will do about the “public health crisis” of “racism.” Via the declaration:

Whereas, racism is a serious public health threat because racism — both interpersonal and structural — is proven to have harmful impacts to [sic] the mental and physical health of communities of color; and racism is declared as a public health crisis that directly impacts Salt Lake City residents resulting in health disparities that are both measurable and preventable; and outcomes from these structural inequities can be seen through increased exposure to environmental toxins, unmet housing needs, disparities in policing and the criminal justice system, inadequate private and public investment, decreased access to educational and employment opportunities and multitudes of health measures […].

And?

Now, therefore be it resolved: That in our capacity as a local municipal authority we declare racism as a moral and public health crisis in our city, state, and nation and reaffirm our commitment to the principles of the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

This is my favorite part — the “here’s what we’re going to do about it” part. As you read it, count the, 1: concrete actions, and 2: measurable goals.

Be it further resolved: That we commit to look internally, externally, and encourage all who reside, work, and own businesses in our city to commit to the work necessary to dismantle racist legacies and equitably work to repair our communities.

That we commit to seek out strategies and solutions to unfair institutions in our society, businesses, government, and culture to improve the health outcomes and the life of all persons of color of Salt Lake City.

That as we continue our work going forward we will continue to be critical about the policies and ordinances we create to ensure they do not add to the compounding of inequities, and that they work to undo the damage done over many years.

Do you count “zero” and “zero”? Me, too.

This was an exercise in left-wing futility at its finest. Symbolism over substance, as it were. The notion of pretend-systemic-racism at the hands of a “White supremacist” America is silly enough. But drafting a meaningless declaration that says virtually nothing of substance, commits those who wrote it to do nothing specific, and provides no metrics by which to measure the success of their nothingness? Please.

But, damn, it sure made ’em all feel good about themselves, didn’t it?