Saturday Night Live (SNL) recently aired a skit displaying black people who were skeptical of getting the vaccine. Daniel Kaluuya of “Get Out” fame was the center of the skit as sort of a game show host. The contestants of the game show were cast as his family members that he was attempting to convince to get the vaccine. Each of his family members had a reason and/or excuse as to why they did not want the shot. One of them even brought up the Tuskeegee Experiment – a well-known medical trial that resulted in hundreds of black men being permanently injured or dying unnecessarily.
Many people thought the skit was not only funny but informative when it comes to reasons why black Americans tend to be apprehensive in relation to the vaccine. Others did not find it amusing at all. “The Hill” did a piece on it in which they said SNL made fun of black Americans “ignorance and cowardice” to getting the vaccine. A black (possibly African?) doctor on Twitter said that the piece was devoid of any context – which is false because Tuskeegee was most certainly mentioned as a reason why black people are apprehensive to get the vaccine.
Skepticism of new drugs and/or medical treatments is nothing new and disastrous results from drugs and medical treatments/trials are not ancient history. The Tuskeegee experiment started a long time ago, as Daniel Kaluuya’s character mentioned on SNL, but it did not end until the 1970s. Other shots like Depo-Provera and Gardisil have injured people within the past 20 or so years. Millennials and Gen-Xers have been injured by vaccines and new drugs very recently. Johnson and Johnson have their own version of the vaccine but they just recently settled a lawsuit over Talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
So it is not “ignorance” to take into account recent history of failed medical experimentation nor is it “cowardice” to decline a medical treatment that may pack more risk than it is worth.