Authored by Mike Kimel
Here’s a story widely reported in England from earlier this year:
A black former soldier is suing the Ministry of Defence after he was injured when his hands were exposed to temperatures of -30C during training.
Abdoulie Bojang, 30, is suing for £200,000 after he suffered career-ending injuries when he was exposed to below-zero temperatures in Banff, Canada during training.
He says the army ‘failed to take into account his ethnicity’, and is suing over non-freezing cold injuries…
A spokesman for solicitors Bolt Burdon Kemp said: ‘Service personnel of African and Afro-Caribbean descent, including those of mixed race, are particularly vulnerable in low temperatures.’
‘The MoD has acknowledged research indicating that these groups are 30 times more likely to contract an NFCI (non-freezing cold injury) than Caucasian service personnel.
I assume that if the MoD has acknowledged such differences are real, they probably are, but beyond that, I will not pretend that I am qualified to have an opinion on medical issues. However, I do have some questions:
1. Given this article, is it racism to treat one group of soldiers differently in cold weather based on that group’s ancestry?
2. Given this article, is it racism not to treat one group of soldiers differently in cold weather based on that group’s ancestry?
3. Do answers to 1 & 2 change if the notion that a person’s ancestry affects that person’s vulnerability to the cold is true?
4. Do answers to 1 & 2 change if the notion that a person’s ancestry affects that person’s vulnerability to the cold is not true?
5. If people of a particular ancestry are disproportionately likely to be affected by cold, what is the likelihood that groups of people with a different ancestry are disproportionately likely to be affected (positively or negatively) by other conditions?
6. Under what conditions would it be racist to account for issues described in question 5?
7. Under what conditions would it be racist not to account for issues described in question 5?
Please share your answers in comments.
(Note – this post is not a follow up to this one, but the two posts do reside in the same world.)