Rachel Levine

“Rachel” Levine Plays the Race Card on Climate Change

(Brownstone)—The 2020s are like a South Park episode. Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, a biological male who identifies as a transgender woman, earlier this month took time away from encouraging pre-adolescent children to explore their gender identities through the wonders of endocrine-disrupting pharmaceuticals to lecture the public about how climate change might be racist.

In a video posted on X, Levine said, “Black Americans are more likely than White Americans to live in areas in housing that increase their susceptibility to climate-related health issues,” and added that “65% of Black Americans report feeling anxious about climate change’s impact.”

The Department of Health and Human Services website that viewers are directed to at the end of the video doesn’t provide many additional details.

But there is a tacit implication in the video that if you’re not all-in on climate change policy, you just might be a racist — or that you don’t care about black health and anxiety.

Others have made the argument more directly.

A 2022 article published on BBC’s website explicitly said climate change is a form of both white supremacy and colonialism, arguing countries with populations predominantly of European descent contribute more to climate change than the rest of the world, which is affected more negatively by it.

Environmental justice advocate Peggy Shepard discussed in a 2022 TED talk how minorities in the United States experience greater health problems due to climate change, as well as more old-fashioned pollution, in part due to a lack of distance between industrial areas and poor minority neighborhoods.

Yet, although there may be nuanced conversations worth having about some of these topics, bringing race into the discussions is, at best, a distraction and, at worst, an attempt to shut down debate quickly and malign those who don’t fall in line with one of today’s most in-vogue ideologies.

If members of a poor community are developing asthma or cancer at a disproportionate rate because a nearby factory is releasing harmful chemicals into the environment, that is, by all means, a serious problem that should be addressed. Crying racism, though, isn’t going to help.

However, if people question the worst-case prediction of the latest climate model, want to eat a burger instead of bugs, or want to drive more than 300 miles without having to spend half the day charging their electric vehicle, shouting “racist” just might be sufficient to make them think twice about expressing such concerns or desires again while in polite company.

By no means is this tactic new. It has been used and overused to the point of self-parody by a certain type of progressive looking for another arrow in the quiver against those who fail to support a favored or sometimes floundering cause.

In 2020, one public health advocate wrote that refusing to wear a mask while shopping was an act of racial dominance. In the fall of 2022, university professors looking to maintain pandemic-era masking traditions in their classrooms included statements in their syllabi regarding how not masking indoors was a display of racism.

More recently, a professional gender studier at Oxford Brookes University wrote that wanting to keep biological males such as Rachel Levine out of women’s bathrooms and changing rooms is also racist.

Yet, even if the tactic has become one of self-parody, one only needs to look to Levine to see that we are living in parodic times where quite a few people are willing to embrace the latest slogans and accept all sorts of absurdities as reasonable, even to the detriment of society, if it protects them from being labeled a bigot.

About the Author

Daniel Nuccio holds master’s degrees in both psychology and biology. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in biology at Northern Illinois University studying host-microbe relationships. He is also a regular contributor to The College Fix where he writes about COVID, mental health, and other topics.