NYC health commissioner asks WHO to rename monkeypox over term’s ‘painful and racist history’

Morally righteous Democrats are so committed to the narrative that racism is rampant in America as they endeavor to protect marginalized communities that even science takes a backseat to the political agenda.

Case in point, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is asking the World Health Organization to change the name of monkeypox over its “painful and racist history.”

Dr. Ashwin Vasan, who believes systemic racism “has led to long-term health inequities,” wrote a letter to the WHO expressing “growing concern for the potentially devastating and stigmatizing effects that the messaging around the ‘monkeypox’ virus can have on these already vulnerable communities.”

“NYC joins many public health experts and community leaders who have expressed their serious concern about continuing to exclusively use the term ‘monkeypox’ given the stigma it may engender, and the painful and racist history within which terminology like this is rooted for communities of color,” Vasan continued.

He went on to say the term monkeypox  is a “misnomer” because “the virus does not originate in monkeys and was only classified as such due to an infection seen in research primates,” before letting slip who leaned on him to make the move.

“Further, as we are reminded by fierce advocates who served on the front lines as the HIV/AIDS epidemic emerged, early misinformation about the virus led people to believe that it was spread to humans after people in Africa engaged in sexual activity with monkeys,” the commissioner said. “This kind of false messaging created incalculable harm and stigma for decades to come. Continuing to use the term ‘monkeypox’ to describe the current outbreak may reignite these traumatic feelings of racism and stigma — particularly for Black people and other people of color, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ communities, and it is possible that they may avoid engaging in vital health care services because of it.”

As noted on social media, Vasan’s own department singled out the LGBTQ+ community among those “eligible” for vaccines:

On Monday, White House Covid Response Coordinator Ashish Jha also expressed concern about monkeypox being used “to propagate homophobic or transphobic messaging.”

As one social media user stated, the maneuver “betrays the racism of the people behind the renaming push. It is they who associate blacks with monkeys.”

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

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