DeAnna Lorraine, a failed congressional candidate and conspiracy theorist, said in an online video Wednesday that she wasn’t “buying” the fact that the COVID-19 coronavirus is disproportionately affecting black Americans, but added that if it were, it may be because black people are ignoring social distancing guidelines to have big “house parties and barbecues and crawfish boils.”
Lorraine, whose visibility among right-wing activists spiked when President Donald Trump retweeted her call to #FireFauci, has begun posting daily videos of herself on YouTube talking about news and politics. In Wednesday’s video, Lorraine charged, “Nothing has worked for the left. They want to keep this coronavirus going. They benefit from it. They want to keep America shut down. They benefit from it.”
“This hoax is being exposed, so guess what their next big lie is that they’re going to push?” Lorraine said. “That reopening America is somehow considered racist.”
Lorraine blasted Democrats for supposedly attempting to “incite anger and fear in the black community and try to pit them against Trump and against white people, to have them believe that reopening America and getting back to jobs is racist.”
Lorraine was responding to a Washington Post article about black activists sounding the alarm about Southern governors’ desire to reopen the region at a time when black Americans “have been disproportionately impacted both economically and medically by the novel coronavirus.”
The Post story noted that African Americans make up 30 percent of deaths from the pandemic despite representing only 13 percent of the U.S. population, and that nearly 6 in 10 black Americans live in the south, which the Post said appears to have among the lowest testing rates for coronavirus in the country.
Lorraine described activists’ call for governors to begin reporting cases by race before reopening “the most B.S. thing I’ve ever heard of in my life,” adding that the concerns being raised about the impact of the coronavirus on black people and the danger of relaxing social distancing guidelines are “another way to blame white people.”
And then she said this:
And you know what? And now again, this isn’t me being racist or anything, but I’m just reporting the facts. If there is truly a discrepancy, if there is truly—I’m not really buying it—but if it’s true that the coronavirus is disproportionately affecting black people, and they’re apparently getting the coronavirus at a higher rate than white people, then I do have to say this: Here’s what I’m seeing. I’m getting reports, OK, from some folks, saying that they’re seeing a lot of black folks in their community having parties and barbecues and crawfish boils and other kinds of things. I am hearing reports about that. So maybe they’re causing this. Maybe they’re bringing on the spread of the coronavirus themselves.
Lorraine played a video that went viral in recent days, showing dozens of young black people gathered in a house for what the Chicago Tribune described as “a memorial party for two friends who died of gun violence years ago.” While the video attracted widespread denunciation, it has also sparked some thoughtful coverage and conversation about socioeconomic and generational divides and the lack of trust among some young people from marginalized communities in the institutions of government and media.
And then you have Lorraine:
I don’t really care. If you want to have a house party, have a house party. I’m one of those people that I feel like if you want to do whatever you want in your own homes, and you’re healthy, go for it. But if they’re then going to accuse white people of being racist or negligent of the black community’s needs, if they’re going to make the case for why the country or certain states should not reopen because the black people are being disproportionately affected by coronavirus, then we can throw out these kinds of things too: ‘Well, maybe they’re holding really big house parties and barbecues and crawfish boils, and that’s maybe what’s spreading the coronavirus around faster.’
“I’m the farthest thing from racist,” Lorraine insisted. “I just tell the truth.”
Lorraine’s supposed truth-telling and fact-reporting apparently doesn’t extend to the well–documented disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on black and Latino communities in the U.S.
Lorraine, a promoter of conspiracy theories whose congressional candidacy was boosted by Infowars’ Alex Jones and by religious-right pastor and political activist Jack Hibbs, drew less than 2 percent of the vote in the March 4 primary for California’s 12th Congressional District, the seat currently held by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.