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Charles Perrow described the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear reactor meltdown as a Normal Accident. Normal accidents are a class of events produced when subsystems in risky, complex and tightly coupled systems fail. Tight linkages between subsystems propagate failure, and local breakdowns cascade into systemic collapse. Diane Vaughn applied the normal accident metaphor to the 1986 Challenger Disaster.
In this COVID-19 pandemic, “racism is a killer.” But, being an immigrant with limited social protections is too. The impact of COVID-19 has been disproportionately felt in communities of color, rendering visible the insidiousness of structural racism.