If You Compare Anti-Vax Beliefs To The Civil Rights Movement, You Are Ignorant As Hell

by Sa'iyda Shabazz
Originally Published: 
Steve Pfost/Newsday/Getty

In recent years, the conversations around vaccinating (or not vaccinating) kids has been a diabolical debate. There are parents out there who are inexplicably opposed to vaccinating their children. And they’re doing everything in their power to maintain space for their anti-vax beliefs.

And now in an obnoxious (and dangerous) twist, these parents, who are largely white women, are comparing their crusade to keep their unvaccinated kids in public schools to the Civil Rights movement. That’s right, white women are comparing their right to not vaccinate their children to black people fighting for the right to do things like go to better schools, vote, and be treated like human beings after hundreds of years of being viewed as property.

Yep, I’m shaking my head at this complete foolishness too.

I can’t believe this even needs to be said but, people: Keeping your children out of schools because they could pass an infectious disease is not the same as being barred from receiving an education because of their skin color. These two things could not be any more different. I am legitimately flabbergasted that we are even having this discussion. But white women are nothing if not consistent and the limits of anti-vax nonsense knows no bounds.

These folks are saying their children are being segregated because they’re not vaccinated. But that’s not how segregation works. Black kids didn’t ask to attend segregated schools. The racist government made the decision to keep them out of better schools in white neighborhoods solely because of the color of their skin, not because of a decision they made. Unvaccinated white kids are being “segregated” from their schools because of a decision their parents made to ignore the rules (and scientific facts).

Because apparently they think they’re above the rules, as this is the impression society has always given them.

White women sure do love to co-opt the fights of people of color. Claiming invisible oppression while refusing to check your own privilege is like White Women 101 at this point. Any person of color knows that, but especially black people.

There are white women marching in California (which is where I live) singing “We Shall Overcome” during their protests. First of all, how fucking dare they try to use a song meant to uplift black people literally fighting for their right to exist to promote your bullshit anti-vax beliefs? That song was created to remind black people of our resilience in the face of a country that wanted us to go back to the cotton fields. It’s not a theme song for a bunch of women stomping their feet because they’re not getting their way.

How. Fucking. Dare. You.

Second of all, being punished for not vaccinating your kids isn’t a legitimate form of oppression. News flash ladies: you’re not being oppressed, but you are being ridiculously ignorant.

By co-opting the civil rights movement to further their incredibly dangerous agenda, white women are yet again proving their selfishness. Because anti-vax beliefs are incredibly selfish and reckless. But we know that white women will step on anyone to get what they want. This is especially true of the black community, who they will hold down and disrespect without hesitation. None of their behavior is even remotely okay, but to equate anti-vax beliefs to the systemic oppression of black people is just beyond comprehension.

I am legitimately flabbergasted that we are even having this discussion. But white women are nothing if not consistent and the limits of anti-vax nonsense knows no bounds.

According to Politico, during the hearings for Senate Bill 276, California governor Gavin Newsom’s epic crackdown on medical exemptions, white women were out protesting in abundance. Some white woman had the nerve to carry a sign saying “Welcome to Calabama, y’all.” This person felt the right to compare Gov. Newsom to former Alabama Governor George Wallace, a man who vehemently fought against desegregation. I…I just can’t wrap my head around this.

“This is misappropriation of a movement that really is not over and proves to be challenging to overcome,” California Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles) tells Politico. “The whole conversation around vaccinations is actually one about privilege and opportunity. It’s a personal choice. It’s a luxury to be able to have a conversation about medical exemptions and about whether or not you think your child should be vaccinated.”


And that’s what this whole thing boils down to: privilege. White families have the privilege to think their anti-vax beliefs are a civil right. Endangering the lives of hundreds of other kids is not a civil right. It’s a harmful belief with dire consequences. Civil rights, whether they be with respect to black people, the LQBTQ+ community, or even women is the fight for the right to exist as equal citizens. Fighting to keep your kids from receiving medicine that prevents life threatening illness — and protects masses of vulnerable people — is just ridiculous.

Being punished for not vaccinating your kids isn’t a legitimate form of oppression. News flash ladies: you’re not being oppressed, but you are being ridiculously ignorant.

Why are you okay with allowing your kids out into the world to potentially infect other people? I would love to walk through the world with the sense of self-importance white women have. Like, you actually think you’re so important that your kids should be allowed to walk into kindergarten and spread potentially life-threatening diseases? What in the actual fuck is wrong with you people?

“Do I think it is comparable to MLK and the civil rights movement? I think we’re probably in the beginning stages of getting to something like that,” Christina Hildebrand, president and founder of A Voice for Choice, tells Politico. Ma’am, I kindly request that you get your head out of your ass.

Hildebrand also tries to fight against the claims of overwhelming privilege in this fight. “I’m surprised they feel it’s white privilege,” she says, claiming that there are parents of all races fighting the vaccination restrictions. While there may be parents of other ethnicities who share the anti-vax beliefs, it’s still largely white folks who make up the vehement anti-vax movement. And those at the forefront are pretty much all while women.

White women, sit down and take notes. You fighting for your anti-vax beliefs is 100% your right. You’re wrong, of course, and if you want to put your kids at risk for serious and deadly diseases, that’s on you. But do not in any way try to compare yourself to Martin Luther King Jr. and the other men and women who gave their lives, literally, to fight for the human rights of black people. The Civil Rights Movement was a fight for equality, and is incomparable to your fight to endanger thousands of lives.

For your own sake, stop it.

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