Running From COVID-19: How Food Insecurity and Racial Capitalism Threaten Black America
In the age of COVID-19, traditional food systems have proven inadequate to meet the needs of low-income communities.
By Etienne C. Toussaint (Assistant Professor of Law, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law) and Sabine O’Hara (Distinguished Professor, University of the District of Columbia College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Science)
Editor’s Note: The authors published Food access in crisis: Food security and COVID-19 in Ecological Economics (Volume 180, Feb. 2021). See O’Hara, S., & Toussaint, E. C. (2021). Food access in crisis: Food security and COVID-19. Ecological Economics, 180, 106859. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106859 (subscription required)
Experts say jogging at a low to moderate pace for five to ten minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart attack, cardiovascular disease and cancer. And we’ve all been told that regular physical activity prevents obesity and diabetes. But did you know that not all forms of running and outdoor activity are beneficial to one’s health? In fact, in some cases, the health impacts are less a matter of how one runs and more a question of where or who.
For 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, running became a death sentence when he was hunted and gunned down by white vigilantes for jogging while Black in the wooded outdoors of Satilla Shores, Georgia. For Christian Cooper, birdwatching while Black in Central Park became an endangerment when a white women called the NYPD and pretended he was threatening her life.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the health benefits of daily exercise have never been more important, particularly in Black communities where the impact of the coronavirus has been likened to the black plague. However, the novel coronavirus has also laid bare the difficulties that countless Black Americans face while attempting to live a healthy lifestyle. Whether at the hands of fellow citizens or under the knees of police officers, overt acts of racial injustice threaten the safety of Black people who venture outdoors to exercise or play. Such difficulties have triggered a Black mortality rate from COVID-19 that is 2.4 times higher than the…