“Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca – Philosopher
Yesterday, for Tuesday Table Talks at The Warehouse Church, our guest was Joe Isosaki from Ethicon, Johnson & Johnson. We discussed the COVID-19 vaccine, and how large pharmaceutical companies and the government collaborate to produce and distribute it globally. I did an informal poll of my friends of all ages and ethnicities across the Country. I wanted to see if they planned to take the vaccine or allow their kids to take it. There was a wide range of answers from NO! to OF COURSE! My African-American friends were justifiably moreWARY – feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems. The history of race-medicine in the United States, where people of color have been abused, misused, misdiagnosed, and ill or not treated, is well known. COVID-19 disproportionately affects African-Americans who are 13.4% of the population but only represent 5% of those participating in clinical trials. Blacks and Latinos are 3 times as likely as whites to become infected and twice as likely to die according to the New York Times. Latinos make up 18% of the population, but only 1% of the trials. We need affected folks to participate to get data. What is making them so wary of testing and vaccination?
A SORDID HISTORY
Sordid means involving ignoble actions and motives that arouse moral distaste and contempt. It’s a great word to describe incidents like the Tuskegee Syphilis Study which began in 1932 when there was no treatment for syphilis. Over the years, 600 African-American men, mostly poor sharecroppers who had never visited a doctor, were recruited with a promise of free medical care. They were told they were being treated for ‘bad blood’ and were given placebos even though by 1947 penicillin was the recommended treatment for syphilis. Researchers convinced local physicians not to treat the participants.“In order to track the disease’s full progression, researchers provided no effective care as the men died, went blind or insane, or experienced other severe health problems due to their untreated syphilis. (History.com) Many of the men, their spouses, and children contracted the disease. “As a result of the Tuskegee experiment, many African Americans developed a lingering, deep mistrust of public health officials.” This is just one tragic incident that’s made us wary.
Our Sinful Condition
Jesus was keenly aware of the depravity of man. John 2:23-25 tells us that,”While Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover festival, many people believed in Him because they saw the miracles that He performed. Jesus, however, was wary of these believers. He understood people and didn’t need anyone to tell Him about human nature. He knew what people were really like.(GWT) Other translations say He did not entrust himself to them, for He knew what was in man. Jesus knew that the same ones who shouted ‘Hosanna!’ would soon cry out ‘Crucify Him!’ We as African-Americans and as Believers have to grasp the carnal and at times corrupt nature of this world. Jesus showed us that there is a difference between being afraid and being aware.