Tag Archives: COVID-19 face masks

Black privilege: Oregon county exempts non-whites from mandatory mask-wearing

Some are more equal than others.

Last week, like the state of California, health officials of Oregon’s Lincoln county issued a mandate requiring everyone to wear a face mask when out in public where individuals may come within six feet of someone outside their household. Exempted from that rule are those under 12 years of age, those with medical conditions who have difficulty breathing with a mask on, and those with disabilities that prevent the wearing of a face covering.

On Tuesday, June 23, however, the county added another exemption.

Katherine Fung reports for Newsweek that non-white people (“people of color”) are exempt from the mandatory face mask rule because, according to Lincoln county, “people of color…have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public” — whatever that means.

County health officials said: “No person shall intimidate or harass people who do not comply. This Directive is intended to induce voluntary compliance and compliment education and encouragement of use of face coverings to protect ourselves and our community.”

As of Tuesday, Lincoln County had 292 of Oregon’s 7,201 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and only one death.

Lincoln county, named after President Abraham Lincoln, is on the coast of Oregon, with a 2010 population of 46,034. The county seat is Newport.

The obvious questions that must be asked are:

  • Who exactly is a “person of color” who is exempt from the mandatory face mask rule? If an individual, like Elizabeth Warren, is 1/180th “black,” is that a “person of color”?
  • Isn’t it racially discriminating to require whites to don a face mask, but not non-whites?
  • If a “white” person (whatever that means) also has “heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public,” can that “white” person also be exempted from the face mask rule? If not, why not? Don’t white people’s feelings matter?
  • Who in hell gave Lincoln county — or the state of California — the legal authority to require the wearing of face masks? Where in the U.S. Constitution or any state statutes does it say the county has that power?

H/t Laura

~Eowyn

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