“May every creed and race find an equal place, and may God bless our nation” – Line from the national anthem of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
The recent passing of a prominent black celebrity with their death linked to Sarcoidosis has caused a big hoopla in the sarcoidosis community. I posted about it when I first found out that Mr. Duncan’s death was contributed to by sarcoidosis, and the day of the post and the two days after were the busiest my blog had ever been. My hits on those three days rose by literally 1200%. With the amount of emails I had coming to me one would have thought that I worked for TMZ and had a direct line to the coroner’s office.
The most popular theme of the emails was how sarcoidosis affects black people more than any other race. This is true, according to statistics. The numbers have changed though. The old stats were that it affected blacks 10:1 over whites. The new stats are 3:2:1 – Black:White:Other.
A few people wrote asking me what I knew about how sarcoidosis affects black people. I am not a researcher nor an expert on sarcoidosis nor an expert on anything. Not even an expert on my own life. Some people wrote to tell me that they thought that black people need to be especially afraid of “contracting” sarcoidosis.
Okay people. Sarcoidosis is not contagious. No one knows how it is manifested, but I am sure that it does not have it out for any particular race. I am sure it is an equal opportunity disease when you look at it rationally. Statistics are just numbers, and the numbers are for who have been diagnosed. Who knows how many people are walking around with sarcoidosis and not know it. It may be seven times as many whites as anyone else.
A few people wrote to ask me my race, because if I am going to write a blog about sarcoidosis, I owe it to them to let them know what race I am. Human. That’s my race. Human. Some have asked why I don’t have a photo of myself on my gravatar so people can see what I look like. Does my appearance really make me more credible to write about my own life? Do you need to know what the color of my skin, my eyes and my hair are to trust that I know what I am experiencing?
I constantly question why the world is so hung up on race. Do people walk into a room, stop and say to them self “hmm, wonder what the percentage of whites to blacks are in this room? Not many mixed race I see.”
I constantly get asked “what I am”. I have been asked if I was Irish, British, German, Egyptian, Iranian, South African, Scottish, American Indian, Asian Indian, South American, Central American and Canadian. Mostly because my accent confuses people. Even people from my native country don’t believe me at first when I say where I am from. My accent is different because I went to Catholic High School where the priests were British and Irish, and now i have lived in the US for 26 years. I have a combination of four accents and I do not look like the “typical” native of my land. My features are racially ambiguous .
The fact of the matter is that it does not matter. We all have sarcoidosis no matter what the color of our skin is, and a cure needs to be found. If people put as much energy into getting sarcoidosis known as they do into figuring out what race it affects, we would have a cure by now.
So let’s stop getting hung up on race and who gets affected more. Lets not label it as something it is not, and let’s just get the word out about it, and the devastating effect it has on its victims and families.
And for all those that are über-curious, I am mixed. My heritage is French, Dutch, Chinese, Carib Indian, Arawak Indian and Moor. Where does sarcoidosis fit in there? I really does not matter, does it? I have it.