The Dallas Examiner reports
“The weekend has given me time to reflect on Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s attempts to fault Democrats for African Americans who are unvaccinated during a FOX News interview,”
State Sen. Royce West, D-23rd District, stated in a Monday morning media release.
The senator was referring to an Aug. 19 interview in which the lieutenant governor blamed Black people for spreading COVID-19.
“The COVID is spreading, particularly most of the numbers is with the unvaccinated. And the Democrats like to blame the Republicans on that. Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated,” Patrick declared.
West, along with many health professionals and news outlets, called this false and misleading.
“Those assertions, by my account and most, were inaccurate, hurtful, misguided and insensitive,” West asserted. “Instead of trying to cast blame where it does not belong, the Lt. Governor and all state leaders should be doing more to help ensure that African Americans in Texas are able to trust the COVID-19 Vaccine.
“While Lt. Gov. Patrick stated without substantiation that ‘the biggest groups in most states is African Americans who are not vaccinated,’ I remind that African Americans represent about 12 – 14% of the population here in Texas and nationally, which makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Blacks to comprise the largest group of any comparison.
“Neither do African Americans make up the largest number of COVID-19 cases or fatalities.”
West used facts and figures from the Department of State Health Services that revealed White Texans made up 32.1% of all the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, while 14.8% were Blacks Texans. Likewise, White people made up 41.2% of those who died from the virus, compared to 10.2% that were Black.
Moreover, at about 47%, 4.94 million White Texans remain unvaccinated. Meanwhile, at 55%, about 1.6 million Black Texans remain unvaccinated.
West also pointed out that his reasoning behind Patrick’s numbers were also flawed.
“Lt. Gov. Patrick appears to have disregarded the full context and complete history on why vaccination rates are low nationwide among African Americans,” West explained. “We know that African Americans were used as human subjects for various medical experiments by the United States government without their consent or through manipulation.”
He discussed the Tuskegee trials, a 40-year long syphilis experiment conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the most well-known example.
Another example was Henrietta Lacks, who was treated for cervical at the renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital. During biopsies, her cells were kept and used for experiments without her or her family’s knowledge or consent – even after the radium treatments failed and she died.
Though documentation of several examples of medical experiments on African American does exists, the virus affects everyone of every nationality and background. And everyone, regardless of skin color, has been asked to get the vaccine and wear a mask.
“At a time when Democrats, Republicans and Independents, Christians, Muslims and agnostics should all come together to fight a deadly disease that has killed more than 616,000 Americans, our Lt. Governor has chosen to wrongfully place blame on African Americans; stigmatize and think the worst of citizens he also represents,” West stated.
Texas Democratic Chair Gilberto Hinojosa released a statement calling Patrick’s statement “racist” and accusing him of shifting the blame.
“On Fox News, despicable Dan Patrick hit a new low of racism and disinformation, coming out with [that] disgusting, racist, and patently false claim,” he expressed. “Further, instead of doing the decent thing and apologizing for these shameful statements, Patrick took to Twitter Friday to double down on his outrageous and harmful claims. On top of the sheer heinous racism of these comments, it is stunning that our lieutenant governor had the gall to suggest that the blame for this surge lies anywhere other than with himself and his fellow state leaders – given the Republican state government’s track record of doing everything in its power to let this virus kill Texans.”
Texas Democratic Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Mike Collier expressed that the accusation went far beyond finger pointing.
“Dan Patrick is blaming Black Texans for low vaccination rates to distract from his own failures,” Collier said. “For months, Dan Patrick has done nothing to protect Texans from COVID-19, instead counseling that grandparents should be ready to die for the Dow. As cases continue to mount and his failed leadership becoming more evident by the day, what has Dan Patrick done to get more Texans vaccinated? Nothing.
“More than 55,000 Texans are dead because of Dan Patrick’s negligence – not because of Black Texans. Blaming Black people for your own shortcomings is not only despicable but straight out of the pages of the Jim Crow playbook. Texas deserves far better.”
West, Collier and Hinojosa, along with other leaders in the community and medical professionals, have all insisted that the best way to defeat the virus is to fight it together, rather than fighting each other.
“It did not have to be this bad,” Hinojosa stated. “At every single step in this pandemic, our Republican state leaders have had a choice: take action to save lives or do nothing and let Texans die. And every single time, they chose to let Texans suffer. COVID-19 is surging in Texas today because Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Republican politicians are simply unwilling to do their one job: keep Texans safe. Texas deserves better.”