‘Apology not accepted’ — image in Dallas County monkeypox flier of African American man causes stir

'Apology not accepted' — image in Dallas County monkeypox flier of African American man causes stir

There were no other races depicted on the flyer. The flier had the potential of incorrectly stigmatizing African American men. Associating people of color with monkeys has a long racist history. And NPR reported last month that experts worry feelings of stigma around the name “monkeypox” could discourage people from seeking medical care.

The flier led to complaints and, eventually, to heated criticism during Tuesday’s meeting of the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court.

“Why do you put an African American man on the dadgum flier?” asked Commissioner John Wiley Price, the only African American on the court.

The head of the county’s public health department, Dr. Philip Huang, apologized. He said the flier “was not well executed” and then replaced it as soon as he heard complaints.

“Apology not accepted, Dr. Huang,” Price said. “I love people who always apologize after the cow has left the barn.”

Huang said the flier was made by employees within his department, but he took responsibility for it.

The flier advertised a “Monkeypox Pop-Up Clinic” on September 9 and September 11 at Station 4, a gay dance club in Dallas.

A flier advertising a pop-up clinic for monkeypox vaccines in Dallas this month caused a stir at the Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday.

Both Price and Huang agreed the correct strategy would have been to put drawings of men of several races on the flier. Monkeypox is often transmitted by close skin-to-skin contact. Cases are primarily found among men who have sex with men.

According to statistics Huang presented Tuesday, there are 677 cases of monkeypox in Dallas County. Those cases are among women, and the rest are men. The racial breakdown is: White (124), Black (229), Hispanic (127), Asian or Pacific Islander (13), Other (43), and Unknown (141).

“It was an error,” Huang said. “We pulled it as soon as it became apparent, and we replaced it.”

Price has repeatedly criticized Parkland Hospital recently for a 2020 incident when a vice president gifted sock monkey mugs to some Black employees. Officials there investigated after receiving complaints the mugs were offensive, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“As much as I’ve talked about this whole monkey thing, you publish a piece with a Black man’s picture on monkeypox,” Price said Tuesday. “Unacceptable.”

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at [email protected] You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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