June 25, 2020

The Real Reason why More Black People are Dying of COVID-19.

*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal views of the authors, and cannot possibly reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.


Why is it taking Congress so long to understand why such a high percentage of black people are dying of COVID-19?

To me, the answer is obvious.

I’ve read suggestions that it’s because of the high incidence of underlying issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. But why do they have more of these underlying diseases than white people? It’s time for our government to wake up and tell the truth about why this is.

While low-income black people have less access to good health care, this isn’t the major issue.

Many people know by now that these illnesses are caused primarily by sugar, fast food, GMO foods, factory-farmed foods, and ultra-processed food. What many people don’t know is that often, in depressed neighborhoods, these non-foods are all that are readily available.

That’s right. No decent markets or health food stores for miles. And the decent food that is available is too expensive, making it inaccessible.

Fast food companies do aggressive advertising to children and get them hooked at an early age on junk food. Junk food can be addictive, and many of these children get addicted early. False advertising tells people that the non-food is actually healthy, so they don’t realize that their poor diets play such a large part in causing these diseases and destroying their immune systems.

Parents are often so busy trying to earn enough money to take care of their families that they don’t have the time, energy, or finances to purchase healthy food, which they would have to drive far to obtain. They have been manipulated by Big Ag and Big Food to believe that what they are eating and what they are giving their children is healthy.

In addition, refineries and fossil-fueled power plants are often located in black neighborhoods. Breathing this poor air quality puts people at higher risk for COVID-19.

After years of this, many people get sick with the chronic diseases that are considered “underlying conditions,” because their immune systems are not functioning well. Both factors make them vulnerable to COVID-19.

This reality is tragic and absolutely heartbreaking. Tears come to my eyes as I write this. This is not okay.

As Dr. Mark Hyman says in Food Fix, if we really knew the cost to the taxpayers of the subsidies our government gives to Big Ag, which produces mostly GMO corn, soy, and wheat, which largely goes into junk foods (and which is also causing the loss of our forests and the loss of usable soil, as well as having a huge impact on global warming)—if we really knew this, a fast-food hamburger would cost $1,000, while a steak from a regenerative farm would cost $3.

Fortunately, some cities are allowing residents to do urban farming, which is starting to make a bit of a difference. But for more black people to have an opportunity to have the health that many white people experience, much more needs to change.

Our government needs to stop subsidizing factory farms, and instead, subsidize local regenerative farms. Regenerative farms are carbon negative—they actually pull carbon out of our atmosphere, instead of putting carbon into the atmosphere, which is what the factory farms do. They are also regenerating our soil instead of robbing it of nutrients until it’s dead and can’t be planted.

Working on healthy soil and eating local organic produce goes a long way toward building healthy immune systems, which is what we all need to be able to deal with a virus like COVID-19.

It’s time to wake up to how Big Ag and Big Food is killing black people, Hispanic people, and so many others who are in the lower economic levels and have been manipulated by these global companies to believe that junk food is healthy.

Perhaps COVID-19 can show us that we need to change our ways. Perhaps we face an opportunity to resolve some of the underlying, systemic problems we have been living with for so long, in order to heal ourselves—all of us—and our Mother Earth.

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