The World Health Organization (WHO) has come under enormous scrutiny for its mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic during its initial outbreak. But rest assured, they’re taking accountability and working on fixing their broken institution. Just kidding—they’re focusing on meaningless virtue-signaling and pandering.
On Monday morning, the WHO announced it is renaming the “monkeypox” virus and will now call it “mpox” in response to “racist and stigmatizing language online.” Apparently, some people believe the name monkeypox is somehow racist.
When the outbreak of #mpox (#monkeypox) expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatizing language was observed and reported to WHO.
Some countries and individuals asked WHO to propose a way forward to address this https://t.co/VT9DAdYrGY pic.twitter.com/5GctQ6DXO9
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) November 28, 2022
“Monkeypox should be renamed for two major reasons,” Dr. Ifeanyi Nsofor argued in an interview with NPR. “First, there is a long history of referring to Blacks as monkeys. Therefore, ‘monkeypox’ is racist and stigmatizes Blacks. Second, ‘monkeypox’ gives a wrong impression that the disease is only transmitted by monkeys. This is wrong.”
This is absurd for a few reasons.
For one, while you can always find a handful of outrageous things said somewhere on the internet, there was simply no widespread belief, stigma, or association of monkeypox with black people. For most, this response will be the first time they ever hear of such an association. It’s odd that these “woke” people are so quick to hear the word monkey and think of black people. That’s not something most normal people do.
The real reason it was named monkeypox has nothing to do with race. According to the WHO itself, “Human monkeypox was given its name in 1970… after the virus that causes the disease was discovered in captive monkeys in 1958.”
So, the naming of this disease had absolutely nothing to do with race or racism whatsoever. Hence why almost no one actually made that connection. (Other than left-wing academics who have made a profession out of grievance.)
The other point, that monkeypox somehow suggests the disease is transmitted via monkeys, is equally absurd. No one thinks this. Just like no one thinks that “chickenpox” is only spread by chickens. People aren’t stupid.
Ultimately there’s no real reason for the WHO to take such an unusual step in renaming a virus. This is a “solution” for a problem that doesn’t actually exist. And it distracts from the real work the WHO needs to be doing.
Remember, this same organization, which receives hundreds of millions in US taxpayer funding, went along with China’s initial attempt to cover up the COVID-19 pandemic. It also wrongfully downplayed the virus during the early stages of the outbreak, spreading misinformation and robbing the international community of any chance to stop the pandemic before it began.
So, the WHO really should be working to restore its shattered credibility, not meaninglessly virtue-signaling over nonexistent issues.