Structural race, ethnicity, and class disparities in the United States concentrated and intensified the health, economic, and psychological impact of COVID-19 for certain populations. Those same structural disparities and the belief system that maintains them may also account for the weak policy response that left the United States with high rates of infection and death, economic devastation of individuals, families, and small businesses, and psychological distress. A more equal society with a stronger pre-pandemic safety net may have prevented or eased the disproportionate hardship and avoided the drama and cliffhanging. Or the shock of a pandemic and likelihood of extreme hardship might have garnered a stronger and more timely policy response. Yet, many federal lawmakers failed to empathize with and take compassionate action to aid the many victims of COVID-19 across American society, and especially to alleviate the disproportionate suffering by Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx and Asian American communities, along with many working class and impoverished adults and children.
Empathy’s Promise and Limits for Those Disproportionately Harmed by the COVID-19 Pandemic,
27 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 441
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