The implicit racism in the Ebola challenge

The saga of Thomas Duncan reflects racial perceptions. His girlfriend, Louise, whom he had reportedly been visiting in Dallas, had publicly begged for him to be given the same experimental ZMapp medication given to two (white) American missionaries who were infected in Africa and recently flown back to the United States.

“I’m just asking God and asking the American government for the same medicine they’re giving people that come from Liberia,” she said during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Please, please, please, please, help me save his life. …Talk to doctors. They’ll find means to get a medicine to cure him. He’s so young.”

Louise refused to allow her last name to be used for fear of repercussions. Unfortunately, doctors and the pharmaceutical developer said there was no longer any ZMapp left for Duncan or any other victim. But the imagery that accompanied his plight lingers: Whites can be flown to the United States or Europe at any expense, while Africans are left to die unattended on the streets of Liberia or Sierra Leone. Or now, without ZMapp, in Dallas.

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