Surgeon General Jerome Adams Says He Meant No Offense When Questioned About Comments on People of Color at Briefing


PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor confronted Surgeon General Jerome Adams on his statement that “African-Americans and Latinos should avoid alcohol, drugs and tobacco,” clarifying that people were offended by the language he used.

“I have a quick question for you. You said that African-Americans and Latinos should avoid alcohol, drugs and tobacco. You also said, ‘do it for you Abuela, do it for big momma and papa,” she said. “There are some people online that are already offended by that language and the idea that you’re saying behaviors might be leading to these high death rates.”

“Could you talk about whether or not — I guess have a response to the people that might be offended by the language you used?” Alcindor asked.

“I’ve been meeting with the NAACP, with the National Medical Association, with others. I actually talked with Derek Johnson multiple times this week, the head of the NAACP, and we need targeted outreach to the African-American community and I use the language that is used in my family,” Adams explained.”I have a Puerto Rican brother-in-law. I call my granddaddy, granddaddy. I have relatives who call their grandparents big momma. So that is not meant to be offensive.”

“It is not just about what you do but you also are not helpless,” he added. “We need to do our part at the federal level, we need people to do their part at the state level and we need everyone, black, brown, white, whatever color you are, to follow the president’s guidelines, the coronavirus guidelines and do their part.”

“So you recommend that all Americans avoid tobacco, alcohol and drug use?” Alcindor asked.

“Absolutely. It is especially important for people who are at risk in comorbidities, but yes, all Americans,” Adams clarified.

Many, including Alcindor, took to Twitter to call out the Surgeon General’s language:

Watch above, via CNN.

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