Hatch Examines Racial Health Disparities, COVID-19, and Data in New Paper

Rachel Wachman '24March 3, 20223min
Associate Professor Anthony Hatch (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer).
Associate Professor Anthony Hatch. (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer)

Associate professor of Science in Society Anthony Ryan Hatch specializes in health systems, medical technology, and social inequalities. His recent paper, titled “The data will not save us: Afropessimism and racial antimatter in the COVID-19 pandemic,” published in Big Data and Society on Feb. 23, combines his areas of expertise in an analysis of disparities in racial health exacerbated by the pandemic.

The paper begins with a staggering statistic: “According to the CDC Covid Data Tracker, 89,713 Black people have died from complications due to COVID-19, about 13.7% of total deaths (as of 2/11/22, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022).”

Hatch then examines how the problems of racial injustice and COVID-19 function together as a system of structural gaslighting through scientific data relating to racial health disparities and the structures which permit such inequality.

“This paper offers an interpretation of racial antimatter to explain why the data will not save us in the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing on articulations of racial spectacle and structural gaslighting within critical race theory and Afropessimist thought,” Hatch writes in the abstract. “By positioning events in the COVID-19 pandemic together within the same racially speculative frame, I show how the collection of racial health disparities data came up against white supremacists’ political ambitions in a time-space where the demand for human life to matter and the iterative regeneration of racial antimatter collided. This paper highlights the need for ongoing analysis of the unfolding and future spectacles organized around racial health disparities.”

At Wesleyan, Hatch also serves as the director of the Science in Society Program and the coordinator for Sustainability and Environmental Justice.