Dear White People: Please Don’t Do This.

I’m just saying. Just in case you thought an appropriate response to a Liberian person talking about how to respond to ebola was to shout her down, dismiss everything she’s saying and then accuse her of not caring about her own country and family? Yeah, not actually a good idea. Ever.

Also not a good idea would be repeatedly using language that a person more affected by a thing has asked you not to use- referring to a massive continent as a single place, or to an epidemic as a plague. Or to take one person’s thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of a thing and shut down everything she has to say with an over-emotional story of two people, without actually giving any reason for why that justifies your point.

But, y’know, the main thing here would be not making a Liberian, Guinean and Sierra Leonian crisis all about making white British people feel better. FFS.

What an asshat.


Dear White People: Please Don’t Do This.

5 thoughts on “Dear White People: Please Don’t Do This.

  1. 2

    Didn’t watch – don’t feel like cringing today. I do wonder though – what is the difference between a plague and an epidemic? The only thing that comes to mind is a plague being a specific disease (specifically bubonic/pneumonic plague), so you can have an epidemic of the plague – if that makes sense.

    1. 2.1

      I think it’s more a question of the associations of each word? Plague sounds so much more insurmountable, almost medieval and mysterious. An epidemic, on the other hand? Can be serious, but also feels like something that we can tackle.

      Which, again: when western media talk about Ebola, often it sounds like what they’re talking about is a plague- all over exaggeration and fearmongering. But, serious and scary as Ebola is, it is also a disease with well-understood and effective methods of prevention and treatment. As well as better treatments and vaccines on the way, probably before long.

  2. 3

    ‘Epidemic’ is a relevant and medically defined word, describing a rate of new cases above the usual baseline for a given illness in a given area. ‘Plague’ on the other hand is a much less medical word, and worse, it carries a shitton of emotional baggage.

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