Vaccine passports would disproportionately discriminate against black and Hispanic Minnesotans
The ‘surge’ in cases of the ‘Delta Variant’ of COVID-19 is prompting a clamor for the return of so-called ‘Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions’ (NPIs) — mask mandates, shutdowns and the like — to curb its spread.
Such a measure in our state would disproportionately impact Minnesota’s black and Hispanic populations. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (seen in Figure 1) shows that, as of August 2, 56 percent of white Minnesotans have been vaccinated, compared to just 43 percent of black and 44 percent of Hispanic Minnesotans (63 percent of Asian Minnesotans have been vaccinated). Vaccine passports will throw up greater barriers for black and Hispanic Minnesotans than for their white and Asian neighbors.
Figure 1:Percent of Total Population that has Received a COVID-19 Vaccine Dose by Race/Ethnicity, Minnesota, August 2, 2021
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
Of course, vaccine passports are not intended to make it harder for blacks or Hispanics to access certain spaces or participate in certain activities, but, given the disparities in vaccination rates, that will undoubtedly be their impact. And, as we are told nowadays, it is impact that matters in identifying racism, not intent. In her bestselling book White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo argues that “emphasizing intentions over impact” actually “privileges the intentions of the aggressor over the impact of their behavior on the target.”