Will Liberal Hypocrisy Over Vaccine Mandates Wake up the Woke? | Opinion

Sometimes it's best to stand back and let a bad idea be crushed by its own weight. Such will hopefully be the case with the Left's new equity agenda, which posits that any disparate impact on a community of color is necessarily the result of systemic oppression. But the demise of this idea may be brought about sooner rather than later by the sheer hypocrisy of those who believe it.

If those who believed in the equity mandate to fix outcomes actually believed what they espouse, surely they would be speaking up against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's vaccine mandate. The "Key to the City" mandate, which went into effect on August 17th, requires patrons of indoor venues such as restaurants and cultural institutions to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. And it is Black New Yorkers who this policy is most adversely affecting.

Despite the mainstream narrative that only blockhead Trumpers refuse the vaccine, as of August 30, NYC.gov reports that a whopping 66 percent of Black residents have yet to be jabbed in NYC—a majority of the city's unvaccinated population. This means that it is primarily Black people who are being shut out of an opening city.

Where is the "disparate impact" crowd now that Black patrons will be disproportionately turned away from restaurants? Why isn't the Squad and their ilk calling the vaccine mandate Jim Crow 2.0?

According to the anti-racist logic promulgated by Ibrahm X. Kendi, this policy is by definition racist. It certainly amounts to de facto segregation, except instead of separate drinking fountains and back-of-the-line decrees, minorities can't drink or line up at all.

To make the hypocrisy even starker, the same people pushing for vaccine IDs are the ones arguing that it's onerous for marginalized communities to make it to the DMV for a voter ID. If that were true, surely it would be equally onerous for members of those communities to make and keep a vaccine appointment.

Yet, nary a peep from the equity corner on this front. Twitter has even taken to deleting satirical memes calling out the mandate as racist; writer James Lindsay had his account suspended four times for sharing this view.

It's quite tempting to play the blame game here and call out the Left as bad faith actors bathed in hypocrisy. But while memes have their place on Twitter, to brand the mandate as racist, even in jest, is to take up the words of the Equity Lie. It would be far better to disarm the weapon than to turn it against one's political opponents.

COVID-19 Vaccination Proof Restaurant Sign
Honolulu is joining New York and San Fransisco as another city to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for certain activities. In this photo, a sign is viewed at a restaurant in New York's Upper West Side on August 17, 2021, the first day where you have to show proof of having a COVID-19 vaccination to participate in indoor dining. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

With the Left now stumbling on its own double-standards, there is an opportunity to awaken the woke—by revealing the perverse premise of the equity movement as the true signpost of racism.

Let's be clear: This vaccine mandate is unconstitutional, draconian, dystopian, and unlikely to make a single soul safer. Regardless of how one feels about COVID-19 or vaccines, it is outrageous to give the government the power to decide who patronizes private establishments; that decision should only be that of local business owners.

But the vaccine mandate is far from racist. It is discriminatory; but discrimination against the unvaccinated, regardless of race, does not amount to racism. To call it so would be to subvert the first principle of social science research: that correlation does not prove causation.

There are many complex and multifactorial reasons why people of color may refuse the vaccine. To be sure, the sins of the past bear a mountain of blame—slavery, the Tuskegee syphilis study and the real Jim Crow, for starters. But to be empowered does not mean one will not face hardship. It simply means that one has the capacity, and the intrinsic right, to make considered decisions.

The Left's insistence that Black and brown people have no agency, no knowledge of their rights and ultimately no intellectual capacity to sift through the complexities of the moment and take accountability for themselves, is the true definition of racism.

It is time to stop using the Left's corrupt language to knock down their soldiers. We must disarm their entire machine by revealing their true intention to the masses: to chip away at our rights and freedoms until tyranny creeps in with only them at the helm.

Keren Toledano and Karys Rhea are both writers and artists living in New York City.

The views in this article are the writers' own.