Black people in an Oregon county are exempt from a “must wear mask” campaign over fear that they might be racially profiled and put their lives in more danger than catching the coronavirus.
Lincoln County, Oregon, requires most residents to wear face masks in public places regardless if they are outdoor or inside. 93 percent of the county’s population is white. Blacks and other non-whites are not required to wear the masks for of harassment.
It’s one of the first counties in the US to exempt people of color from wearing masks to prevent racial profiling.
Although the county is only 1 percent Black, it has a fast growing Latino community and is also home of the Siletz Reservation.
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When the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended in April that all Americans wear masks in public, many Black and Latino Americans didn’t feel comfortable following its advice. In their cases, wearing a mask could make others perceive them as criminals.