wash your dirty laundry in the street,” goes the centuries-old
African-American adage. The saying is a warning to Black people: Don’t
get into spats with other
Black people about racial differences while “in mixed company.” That’s
code for White people.
at a White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference last week
things got a little heated. An exchange between a Black Journalist and
the country’s top doctor
went there — touching on African-American culture and racial
stereotypes in a very public way. Big Mama may not have approved.
the briefing held to update Americans about the global Coronavirus
pandemic, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, who is African
American, probably didn’t think
he would set off a controversy when he said people of color should
avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol as a safety precaution against the
need you to do this, if not for yourself, then do it for your Abuela.
Do it for your Grandaddy. Do it for your Big Mama. Do it for your Pop
Pop,” said America’s
top doctor, who is tasked with advancing the health of Americans, to
journalists gathered at the White House.
later, Yamiche Léone Alcindor, a Black White House correspondent for
PBS NewsHour, fired a pointed question at Adams. She asked him if his
comment was an attack
on African Americans.
are some people online who are already offended by that language and
the idea that behaviors may be leading to these high death rates,”
Alcindor told Adams.
Adams apologized, but he said that he used language he uses around his family.
Alcindor continued pressing Adams, “Could you, I guess, have a
response to those who might be offended by the language you used?”
will find this language offensive after Adams stressed that behavior
was not the issue for why more black [people] are dying,” Alcindor
tweeted from the press
need targeted outreach to the African-American community,” Adams
responded to Alcindor. “I used the language that I used in my family. I
have a Puerto Rican brother-in-law.
I call my grandaddy, ‘granddaddy.’ I have relatives who call their
grandparents Big Mama. So that was not to be offensive.”
is the 20th U.S. Surgeon General. He oversees 6,500 uniformed officers
who serve almost 800 locations around the globe charged with promoting,
advancing the health and safety of the United States.
45, received his bachelor’s degree in both biochemistry and psychology
from the University of Maryland, master of public health degree from the
California at Berkeley, and a medical degree from Indiana University
School of Medicine.
grew up on a farm in Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reported in 2017. He
assumed the office of Surgeon General of the United States on Sept. 5,
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the leading experts on infectious diseases and a member of the task force, defended Adams’ remarks.
“I know Jerome personally,” Fauci said. “I can testify that he made no — not a hint of being offensive at all with that comment.”