Is dystopian too strong a word for this, from Phil Scott, Vermont’s Republican governor?
If you or anyone in your household identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), including anyone with Abenaki or other First Nations heritage, all household members who are 16 years or older can sign up to get a vaccine! Get yours at ⤵️ https://t.co/hVgb9rzQPn
— Governor Phil Scott (@GovPhilScott) April 1, 2021
The problem with this vaccine prioritization scheme is not so much practical as it is a matter of principle. Racial preferences in vaccine distribution during a pandemic seem like a lab-made recipe for fomenting racial discord, balkanizing American society, and sowing distrust in our institutions. The fact that shots are being made available to BIPOC only — a strange and seemingly arbitrary category of people with completely different life experiences — isn’t likely to have major public-health consequences. It should be expected, however, to have a number of deleterious downstream consequences, in addition to just being flat-out wrong.
First, it encourages Americans of all races to think of themselves as being primarily racial creatures, with interests that are not individual, familial, or national but mostly based on the color of their skin. We can expect such a mindset to not only hamper individual success and happiness but undermine our national solidarity and goals, as well as lead to jockeying for political power among racial groups.