Is the FDA Racist or Just Stupid?
Is the FDA Racist or Just Stupid?
In this case, it may well be a matter of embracing the power of “and.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that African Americans need the nanny state to protect them from themselves, so it’s decided to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.
The tobacco industry has fought to protect menthol for many years, to the frustration of public health activists, especially in the African-American community. Menthol is particularly popular among black smokers, and black leaders have accused the tobacco industry of targeting African-American communities in marketing campaigns.
The NAACP, National Urban League, the National Medical Association and the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council said a menthol ban is long overdue.
The fact that groups supposedly dedicated to protecting the rights of African Americans are supporting federal infringements on the rights of the very people whose rights they’re supposed to be protecting to make choices about their health, about their vices, and about what they put in their bodies is instructive.
Do these groups believe that African Americans are incapable of making informed choices about their own health? How is this not offensive to every African American person out there? How is this not demeaning?
Do these groups believe that African Americans are so extra stupid, that they need the FDA to protect them from themselves?
I believe the answer is “none of the above.” I believe they’re mired in victim mentality – the attitude that breeds entitlement and ultimately helplessness, and allows people to evade personal responsibility while fostering government dependence. And that victim mentality is so ingrained, that they have turned paternalistic and downright offensive in its pursuit.
These people are so determined to paint themselves as victims of the evil Big Tobacco, that they actually paint black people as too stupid and helpless to resist marketing campaigns and in dire need of protection by nanny government!
Here’s a question: why are these groups and the FDA not targeting chewing tobacco, which disproportionately impacts white men?
The FDA claims that the reason they’re targeting mentholated cigarettes is because they’re more addictive because they taste better and mask the harshness of plain cigarette smoke, but I’m having a hard time believing this claim. The number of African Americans who smoke is roughly the same as the number of whites who do so, according to CDC numbers. CDC data shows that menthol cigarettes are disproportionately marketed toward African Americans. These statistics certainly doesn’t support the contention that menthol cigarettes are more addictive, but rather that the FDA and these supposed defenders of African-American rights think black folks aren’t capable of making the correct choices without government intervention. That’s not only racist, but offensive!
I do realize that these people’s individual decisions impact the rest of us by escalating health care costs and forcing those who don’t smoke to pay for those who do and don’t have the resources to deal with the repercussions of cancer and other health problems caused by their decisions.
I would suggest, however, that this is a problem with our health care system writ large, rather than with the decisions of a particular group – especially in the age of ObamaCare, where we’re all forced to take on the burden of each other’s health care issues. Smoking-related diseases cost the world $422 billion in health care-related expenses and those who don’t smoke also bear the burden of said expenses.
We need to fix that first and allow informed adults make their own choices.
Featured photo courtesy of: the Oakland Post