Layers of Protection in a Twindemic

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD
Apr 16 · 13 min read

Staying safe during the Twindemic of Prejudice & COVID

Coronavirus emerged in 2019 & we had vaccines for it by the end of 2020. The Prejudice Virus emerged alongside Adam & Steve, remains highly contagious, and has proven immune to most sociopolitical policy level vaccines. Given the dual threat we’re facing, here are some suggestions to protect yourself & those you love.

Layers of Protection from the Coronavirus

The CDC, WHO, health psychologists & MDs at UCSD, & others recommend the following 7 safety measures:

  1. Wear a mask (or 2)
  2. Wash your hands
  3. Watch your distance (at least 6 feet but maybe 10) (Bazant & Bush, 2021)
  4. Sleep Well
    - People who sleep less than 7 hours are 3x more likely to develop a cold than those sleeping for more than 8 hours (Cohen et al., 2009).
    - In 2,884 healthcare workers, every 1-hour increase in sleep duration was associated with 12% lower odds of COVID-19 (p=0.003) (Hyunju Kim et al., 2021). Moreover, reduced sleep is associated with severity of diagnosis (Baozhen Huang et al., 2021).
    v- (see vignette of Piper, Chad, & Jasper below)
  5. Take Vitamin D supplements (especially if you have dark hair and/or skin tone) (see Figures 1 & 2 below) (Karina Zaiets et al., 2020; David Meltzer et al., 2021)
    - Karina Zaiets et al., 2020: “Black & South Asian Americans are at greater risk for vitamin D deficiency due to a higher presence of melanin, which reduces the body’s ability to produce vitamin D.
  6. Wear glasses (non-prescriptive fashion glasses > nothing)
  7. Get vaccinated (then wait 10–14 days)

Layers of Protection from the Prejudice Virus

Social psychologists & RAs at UCSD, everyone who has ever given and/or been given The Talk, Minda Zetlin, the Careering While Asian Panel from Mesa Community College, Unwritten Rules, & others recommend the following safety measures:

  1. #SiriIsAWitness
    A chronically accessible Evidence Mindset is important for your legal/existential safety. This is especially the case if you’re the only person that looks Siri is a witness so keep her charged.
    The darker you are, the less value your words will have. Let Siri speak for you.
  2. An Eye For an Aye
    Nerd immunity → Wear glasses instead of contacts. Glasses, like skin color, are visually salient — and they’re significantly easier to see from a distance than contact lenses. More importantly, the beliefs/ stereotypes associated with glasses go back centuries (if not longer).
  3. Dye your hair blonde (Minda Zetlin, 2016).
  4. Whitening the Resume
    Changing one’s name on a resume (Whitening the Resume).
    - See Careering While Asian for Asian educators’ take on this strategy
  5. Choosing an American Name
    Changing one’s name when arriving in America for school (prevalent among international students).
  6. Changing the way you talk, type (replace exclamation points with emojis) & (if possible) accent.
    - Among multilinguals, using English in public areas to avoid discrimination and racial profiling.
  7. Women dressing in more masculine ways in male-dominated environments (a post-doc friend of mine who mentioned she always wear jeans in the genetics lab).
  8. Concealing sexual orientation in less socially evolved/ less progressive / less inclusive environments (Ragins & Cornwell, 2001).
  9. A. (Jarryd) Wearing a hat, sunglasses, to hide Asian heritage.
    B. (My Lab President Joie Haydel) For Black people, given the “talk”, don’t wear a hood, don’t wear dark colors, hands out of your pockets.
  10. Symbolic Interactionism
    - Wear certain religious symbols for social gain; conceal others to avoid social bias. For example, a crucifix pendant of Christianity on one’s necklace is worth more likes on Instagram than a laurel wreath of Hellenistic NeoPaganism. (#NeoLiberalism)
  11. Conspicuous Consumption
    - Wearing certain brands to indicate social status & offset observers’ biases. For example, I regularly wore UCSD shirts & facemasks while working outside between April & September as a way to let people know that I was a UCSD Triton & not a trespasser on campus. Similarly, I leave expired annual faculty parking permits on my car as a way to signal that I have a right to be here & to park my car here.
    - Dress like a prospect, not like a suspect.
  12. Unwritten Rules
    - Always sit in the front of the class.
    - Ask for a receipt & bag when shopping.
    - Avoid bringing a reusable bag from home. You may care about climate change but you can’t help save the planet if you’re reported for stealing because you brought your own bag.
    - Make sure your hair looks professional.
    - If necessary, wear a wig to work to fit Eurocentric beauty standards, especially if you’re trying to help someone get away with murder on ABC (Appearance Labor).
  13. Strategic Profile Pictures
    - A female friend is always next to me in profile pictures to attenuate the activation of aggression related schemas that may be activated based on race. Alternatives include using your initials as your profile picture (the default in some cases) or a nature background (e.g., ocean).
  14. Introversion By Nurture
    - Given how negatives will be weighed disproportionately for some ethnoracial backgrounds, the benefits of non-meaningful social engagements are outweighed by the costs of ‘what if something goes wrong.
    - Conduct risk-benefit analyses prior to accepting an invitation to a social party that happens to overlap with vocational units of your life.
    - “This is also a great example of how you can vote blue, self identify as progressive, tweet about social justice and simultaneously due to your unconscious biases be creating stress and problems for/not hearing the minorities within your own circle.” — Brianna Holt

Introversion By Nurture

#iNTJ Pride Introverts are Writative

1. Vertical Relationships

Black and Latino students interact with faculty more frequently than White students (Chang, 2005; Kuh & Hu, 2001). If horizontal relationships carry more risk than utility, and negatives applied to you are going to be disproportionately weighted compared to negatives applied to other people, then vertical relationships make more sense.

This isn’t intended to be the same friendship by audit concept which underlies a component of NeoLiberalism. Rather, these are authentic friendship investments being assessed as a function of social trust & capacity for perspective taking. It doesn’t mean the social other has to be perfect; it simply means they’re awake to the possibilities of cumulative disadvantage & systemic inequities enough to hit the brakes whenever they’re made aware of something.

2. Socially Utilitarian Strategy

Introversion may be reinforced over time as a socially utilitarian strategy. As such, individuals who were ambiverted at Time point 1 may become more introverted over time (as opposed to extraverted) as introverted approaches lead to fewer negative outcomes.

Given how negatives will be weighed disproportionately for some ethnoracial backgrounds, the benefits of non-meaningful social engagements are outweighed by the costs of ‘what if something goes wrong’

The cumulative result over time is: Introversion by Nurture

3.From Evocation to Auto-Pilot

I think that introversion by nurture in this manner can eventually become an auto-pilot adaptation, such that the individual will continue to utilize the strategy even when it’s no longer necessary (or less necessary).

At that point it’s difficult to determine whether it’s still an adaptation or if it has — in fact — been utilized with such frequency that it’s who the person actually is.

That makes questions like “Would you be any different/ would you still be you if you weren’t in that environment in which you regularly employed those socially utilitarian strategies” difficult to answer.

This is also reflected in the PersonalityxSituation interaction concept of Evocation. That is, individuals walking into a room may change the social contours of the environment by no fault of their own… simply because of who they are. As such, those individuals will develop strategies that enable desirable/ acceptable levels of adaptation in those environments. The adaptations individuals’ employ as a function of what they evoke from others — insofar as those adaptations are reinforced — will influence the development of & fluctuations in their personality.

Intersectional Utilitarianism

(A poignant, exquisite piece reconciling the progressive ideals a community may have with the unique realities that some members of that community confront in a systematic, generational manner)

By Paniz Khosroshahy, 2016 (March 18)

If minority women decide to shave it doesn’t make them any less feminist. As Paniz eloquently writes:

if you’re a woman of colour that is too ashamed, too traumatized, of being made to feel undesirable, know that your feminism is valid.

You body is valid,
your desire to not create more stereotypes for your community is valid,

your need to escape racial violence is valid.

And if any white feminist tells you that you should practice “body acceptance”, that you need to raise your “feminist consciousness”, forcing you to pick allegiances between your gender and race, know that they are not your ally.

Perhaps, as Minda Zetlin argues, and Paniz Khosroshahy unapologetically reinforced, we may wish for a world where it isn’t considered strategically advantageous for a dark haired woman to dye her hair blonde, where a woman doesn’t decide to wear a scarf because it increases her odds of being promoted compared to wearing a necktie (Johnson et al., 1994), where a woman doesn’t opt for wearing a skirt suit instead of a pantsuit to convey confidence (Pine et al., 2011), where a woman doesn’t have to worry about ensuring her makeup for work is light to convey attractiveness & not heavy which may convey sexualization (Bernard et al., 2020), where a Black American male doesn’t regularly wear glasses to disabuse others’ potential cognitive schemas of criminality/aggression, where an Asian immigrant to the USA doesn’t feel compelled to change her name from Guiqing to Susan, or a world where an LGB employee doesn’t feel compelled to stay in the closet at a non-inclusive workplace (Ragins & Cornwell, 2001). Alas,

we have to deal with the world as we currently find it if we aspire to reach the platform(s) necessary to improve it.

Sleep’s Dose-Response Relationship with Infection

Get plenty of sleep because sleep deprivation increases your susceptibility to infection (Bryant et al., 2004; Bryant & Curtis, 2013; Cohen et al., 2009). Consider the following example:

Chad & Jasper are identical twins.
Chad got 4 hours of sleep last night & Jasper got 6 hours of sleep last night. Piper has a cold.
When Piper comes over to have tea with Chad & Jasper, Piper sneezes.

Chad is more likely to catch a cold than Jasper because Jasper got better sleep.

“Although the prospective design does not allow causal inference, it does eliminate reverse causation as an explanation.”

The End.
(A meta review of sleep studies can be found in the supplemental file here.)

§ ‡ †

LGBT & COVID

(Sears et al., 2021)Report on the impact of COVID19 on the LGBTQIA+ community

Sexuality & COVID19 Infection

Sleepy Sidenotes

Matthew Walker 2021

In a prospective study, women sleeping 5 hours or less had a 70% greater likelihood of developing pneumonia across a 4-year period. Individuals sleeping less than 5 hours a night in the week before receiving a flu shot produced less than 50% of the normal antibody response, relative to having had a full 8-hours sleep opportunity. Hormonal systems suffer, too. Healthy young males sleeping just 4 hours a night for four nights will have a level of testosterone equivalent to that of someone 10 years their senior. That is, insufficient sleep ‘ages’ a man by over a decade in terms of sex-hormone virility. Women sleeping less than 8 hours have a 17% reduction in follicular-stimulating hormone, are 30% more likely to have abnormal menstrual cycles, and may have reduced fertility, relative to those obtaining sufficient sleep.

A loss of sleep, even of just 1 hour, can be heartbreaking. Case in point is the global experiment performed on more than 1.5 billion people across 70 countries twice a year, called Daylight Saving Time. In the spring, when adjusting the clocks means we lose 1 hour of sleep, a small observational study noted a 24% increase in heart attacks the following day. In the autumn, when we gain an hour of sleep opportunity, there was a 21% decrease in heart attacks. A similar pattern is observed for suicide rates, road traffic accidents, even hospital admission rates, especially in the direction of lost sleep in the spring. Benevolent as sleep is for the body, the brain receives arguably the most extraordinary enrichment from slumber. Sleep before learning prepares the brain, and specifically the hippocampus, for the initial encoding of new memories. Sleep after learning supports the subsequent offline consolidation of those memories, decreasing the likelihood of forgetting.

Huang, B., Niu, Y., Zhao, W., Bao, P., & Li, D. (2020). Reduced Sleep in the Week Prior to Diagnosis of COVID-19 is Associated with the Severity of COVID-19. Nature and science of sleep, 12, 999.

Walker, M. P. (2021). Sleep essentialism. Brain.

In order to avoid feeling tired, you should first go to bed early, and then secondly, wake up early. Studies reveal that getting up at dawn means a better subjective quality of sleep.

Getting up early improves work and academic productivity

Morning people are more proactive than those who have their best time at night. Yes, some very talented professionals prefer working at night, but here we are talking in general. They are a few, and not the case here.

Waking up very early makes people organized. 👌🏽

By getting up early, allows you to better plan the day. You can control your time better. The first hours of the morning are ideal for dealing with your daily responsibilities. It will be your time, and you can do what you like best such as reading your favorite author or the New York Times, exercising, riding a bicycle, listening to your favorite radio station, etc. However, it would help if you waste your time by spending your time on Twitter or Instagram. Make sure that you make it worth it!

Moreover, if you wake up early, there will be no interruptions or any distractions. Your time will be utterly productive, and you can complete a two-hour task in 30 minutes.

by Hazel Clementine

Uncanny Influencers

Conversations about diversity and representation in the fashion industry were already at a fever pitch. An influx of avatars makes it even more complicated.

By Kaitlyn Tiffany (direct quote below)

“This brings us to the controversy of virtual influencers. They are physically perfect women made of pixels, standing in for women who have long been pressured to become physically perfect, without the advantage of that even being possible. Lil Miquela herself acknowledged this, sort of, when she asked YouTube conspiracy theorist Shane Dawson, in response to a question about the manipulation of her image, “Can you name one person on Instagram who doesn’t edit their photos?” The women of the fashion industry and particularly of Instagram are already pushed to Photoshop themselves, or to real-life-Photoshop themselves, which is to say “get cosmetic surgery.”

Isn’t it interesting the way we can talk out both sides of our mouths, simultaneously espousing a new age of body positivity and self-acceptance, while also making it clear that supermodels are incapable of reaching beauty standards set by things that are not even alive?

To add insult to injury, this collection of virtual influencers is far more diverse than the roster of brand ambassadors and runway models that major fashion brands have employed for most of their existence. This May, Calvin Klein rolled out its #MYTRUTH campaign, which featured actual famous people like Troye Sivan, Billie Eilish, and the brand’s favorite permalancer A$AP Rocky. It also involved a video in which supermodel Bella Hadid made out with Lil Miquela. In her Calvins! This was a disaster, with critics immediately pointing out the double whammy: In the first place, it was queer-baiting, presenting two women kissing as exotic and bizarre. But also, could they not even cast an actual gay person? There are limits to the usefulness of “representation,” seen here when a job that could have gone to an underrepresented group went instead to a collection of pixels with no personal political context at all.

“There are limits to the usefulness of “representation” — e.g. when you replace real people with avatars.”

In an email newsletter, the writer Rob Horning compared this to Time’s infamous 1993 cover for its “New Face of America” immigration issue, which showed a surreally smooth, smiling face — a computer-generated projection of what future “deracialized” generations of America might look like. Lil Miquela, he argues, is “a figure from an idealized future where human difference is resolved not through political struggle but through process of automated averaging and morphing. … a visual expression of an algorithmic sublime.”

Similar criticism was levied at Shudu, a black woman avatar designed by a white man. Writing for the New Yorker, Lauren Michele Jackson says the character reminds her of black minstrelsy and dryly quotes the creator saying that his biggest influence was “a special-edition Princess of South Africa Barbie doll.”

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