‘You Can Stop Calling Us Racist’: U.K. Blood Service Schools Critics In Online Appeal for More Black Blood Donors

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Black Blood Donors
NHS Blood and Transplant explained that Black people are more likely to have a rare blood subgroup called Ro. (Image courtesy of Getty Images)

A mere 1 percent of people who donate blood in England are Black, according to NHS Blood and Transplant. With a percentage point that low, it is no wonder the national blood service crafted an epic Twitter thread this week encouraging more Black Brits to go and give blood.

“Do Black people have ‘special’ blood?’ the corporation asked in a tweet posted to its Twitter account, Tuesday, Nov. 7. “Are we being racist? … Let’s break it down.”

Using a string of cleverly hilarious GIFs referencing everything from Rush Hour and Ellen DeGeneres, to scientist Bill Nye and R&B singer “The Dream,” the @GiveBloodNHS team dropped some serious knowledge on the universality of blood, the large variety of blood groups and the importance of blood matching when it comes to blood transfusions. They explained that while everyone’s blood serves the same purpose (keeping us alive), our blood is definitely not all the same.

According to NHS, blood can have over 30 different types or blood groups, some of which are more prevalent in different races. For instance, Black people are more likely to have B negative blood than, say, white or Asian people. More importantly, Black people are about ten times more likely than white people to have a rare blood subgroup called Ro.

Why is this so significant? The subgroup, which only one in 50 people has, is often used to management of sickle cell anemia, which is also prevalent in Black folk. Just this summer, rapper Prodigy of the hip-hop duo Mobb Deep reportedly died from complications of sickle cell.

Social media users applauded the blood service organization for crafting such an informative thread, with many affirming that #BlackBloodMatters.

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