US Surgeon General Jerome Adams (who is black) was attacked on Twitter and in the press room for using the terms “pop pop,” “abuela,” and “grandaddy” during the daily virus briefings at the White House. For context – Adams brought up a consistent question surrounding the higher rate of infection and death from the virus among minority communities in the United States. The case is even more urgent among African Americans, specifically.
He stated many historical and present factors including less access to quality care and higher rates of childhood poverty, obesity. Drugs and alcohol were brought up here as well as things that we should avoid at this point in time. Adams also said that younger people should follow the President’s guidelines and if not for themselves, they should do it for their abuela, pop pop, and grandaddy.
PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked a question shortly afterwards about the terms he used and about the advice to stop using drugs and alcohol, saying that many people were already offended by his language.
The Surgeon General stated that he was simply using the language that he uses with his own family members. He calls his grandaddy… grandaddy. He has a Puerto–Rican brother in law. The NAACP reached out to him and specifically asked him to dispel the myth that somehow black Americans could not get the virus.
Intention here was to outreach directly to communities that are hurting. To promote health and save lives in the process. Doing such should be commended, rather than be met with angst and ridicule by many on and offline like it apparently was.