SNL Slammed For Sketch Mocking Black Vaccine Hesitancy
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2021-04-06 23:32:12 UTC
Though the subject of race was a central component to last weekend’s
episode of “Saturday Night Live,” some people have reacted harshly to a
particular sketch that mocked vaccine hesitancy in the black community.

Hosted by two-time Academy Award-nominee Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out,”
“Sicario”), one sketch featured the actor playing a doctor on a game
show titled “Will You Take It?” that offered black contestants a hefty
financial award if they agreed to one thing: Taking the COVID-19
vaccine. As the sketch unfolded, nobody seemed willing to take it,
despite the great rewards. As Fox News reported:

In the sketch, Kaluuya’s character begins by offering his four
family members $500 to simply take the vaccine. As the sketch
goes on, the total eventually reaches $20,000 but it is never
enough to dampen his family member’s hesitancy to take the
vaccine despite close to 100 million people in the U.S. having
been administered the dose.

One family member notes that he’ll start doing it when White
people start taking the shot. When he is informed that many
people have been given the shot, he paradoxically notes “you
can’t trust White people.”

The character’s aunt turns down a dose because she says she
read on Facebook that Christians can’t take the vaccine.
Meanwhile, another relative reveals that he would do several
non-coronavirus-friendly things like large gatherings if he
won the prize money, but still refused to take the vaccine
despite being extremely high-risk.

Several doctors on Twitter immediately took to Twitter to voice their
displeasure over the sketch, particularly with how it failed to address
the nuances regarding vaccine hesitancy in the African-American

“No. No. No. @nbcsnl, how did this skit even make it on air? It’s
deeply problematic – making fun of Black folks declining the vaccine,
esp without any context – past and ongoing racism within and outside
healthcare institutions. You all should know better by now,” wrote Uche
Blackstock, MD.

“This s*%t aint funny, @nbcsnl Playing on stereotypes and
generalizations is a dangerous game especially when 75,000 Black lives
lives have been lost to #COVID19,” wrote Benjamin Thomas, MD. “Polls
show that over 80% of black people want the shot. Vaccine Access >>>
Vaccine Hesitancy.”

“Although I‘ve enjoyed many @nbcsnl skits and these actors, this one
got under my skin and I’m really disappointed. This skit is
irresponsible as it further perpetuates vaccine disparities as being
due to Black Americans being ignorant for a good laugh and portrays
black healthcare providers as manipulative. The more I think about it,
the more my stomach turns,” tweeted Krys Foster, MD.

This past December, former Trump administration Surgeon General Jerome
Adams cautioned that black Americans have a distrust of the COVID-19
vaccine due to America’s history of medical racism, using them as
guinea pigs in health experiments.

“I know that long before COVID, there were many diseases ?
hypertension, cancer, diabetes ? that were plaguing communities of
color,” Adams said on “Face the Nation.” “And COVID just unveiled those
disparities that have been around for a long time.”

“I’ve talked previously about the history of the mistreatment of
communities of color,” he added. “The Tuskegee experiment, the terrible
treatment of Henrietta Lacks and her family and how they just took her
cells without her permission.”

Adams also understood the significance of his being a black surgeon
general in light of how the position had been abused in the past.

“It actually comes from my office, several surgeons general oversaw for
40 years the Tuskegee studies where treatment was denied to Black men,”
he said. “And I walk past their pictures every single day when I go
into my office. So believe you me, this legacy is important to me, and
helping restore that trust is important.”

“What I want to tell people most of all is: I walk the talk. I got
vaccinated on Friday. I actually feel great. My mother-in-law and my
mother are watching, and they’ve been asking me all weekend, ‘How are
you feeling?’ I feel great,” he added. “And I hope people will get the
vaccine based on information that they get from trusted resources.
Because it’s OK to have questions. What’s not OK is to make poor health
decisions based on misinformation.”

Trump won.
Barry Margolin
2021-04-08 00:22:01 UTC
Post by Ubiquitous
deeply problematic – making fun of Black folks declining the vaccine,
esp without any context – past and ongoing racism within and outside
healthcare institutions. You all should know better by now,” wrote Uche
Blackstock, MD.
Except they DID do this.

When one of the contestants was asked why she still wouldn't take it,
she answered "Because Tuskegee".

The sketch isn't really racist because there really IS a racially
correlated bias against the vaccine (although the group with the largest
percentage of vaccine hesitants is white Republican men -- Trump
politicized COVID).

The sketch is making fun of how irrational people can be when they've
been indoctrinated about things. The "Don't trust white people" punch
line illustrated this perfectly.

What do these people think of the classic Richard Pryor "Word
Association" sketch? Was that also racist because his character had some
stereotypical reactions to Chevy Chase's questions?
Barry Margolin
Arlington, MA