Punctuality is racist. According to health officials in Oregon, keeping to schedules and making sure that you’re on time for an agreed-upon meeting essentially plays into white supremacist values.
An official at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), a government organization that coordinates medical care in the state, justified delaying meetings with the argument that “urgency is a white supremacy value.”
The organization previously made the news when a health official dressed up as a clown while presenting COVID-19 deaths in 2020.
Quoting white antiracist educator Tema Okun, Regional Health Equity Coalition Program Manager Danielle Droppers informed the Oregonian health community that a scheduled meeting between OHA officials and members of the public would not take place as it was initially scheduled.
“Thank you for your interest in attending the community conversation between Regional Health Equity Coalitions (RHECs) and Community Advisory Councils (CACs) to discuss the Community Investment Collaboratives (CICs),” wrote Droppers. “We recognize that urgency is a white supremacy value that can get in the way of more intentional and thoughtful work, and we want to attend to this dynamic. Therefore, we will reach out at a later date to reschedule.”
Droppers’ email was obtained by Reason magazine, which reached out to Droppers for comment, but did not receive an explanation.
Health officials who spoke to Reason said they were “taken by surprise” by the statement, with one who looked into the claim that urgency is a white supremacy value.
As detailed by Reason, the claim that punctuality is a form of white supremacy is an idea popularized by Tema Okun, whose views on so-called white supremacist traits have been widely embraced by proponents of critical race theory. Although not explicitly a part of CRT, Okun’s work often accompanies CRT materials in diversity, equity and inclusivity training.
In addition to urgency, other supposedly white supremacist qualities include perfectionism, defensiveness, preferring quantity over quality, binary thinking, worship of the written word, individualism, right to comfort and objectivity.
The OHA, which was responsible for coordinating Oregon’s COVID-19 pandemic response, was widely lambasted on social media over the debacle.