The stereotype is that Black folks don’t like the cold. However, there was allegedly some truth to that racial generalization for at least one person who has sued the British Army for making him endure exercises during the winter.
Michael Asiamah served in the Adjutant General’s Corps in 2016 and “told the High Court he suffered a ‘cold-related’ condition during winter military exercises because the Army failed to equip him with proper cold weather kit such as mittens, gloves, socks and boots, according to The Daily Express. The Ghanaian-born extrooper also claimed his commanders exposed him to chilly conditions despite knowing Africans feel cold more acutely than Britons. Mr Asiamah, 36, is claiming damages for alleged negligence after he suffered ‘nonfreezing cold injury.'”
Asiamah, who was asking for £150,000 — about $190,000 in American dollars — claimed in the lawsuit that he endured “18 hours of freezing and windy conditions” during one exercise and endured a five-hour lecture about the military in the cold while he was only in civilian clothing.
“He said the Ministry of Defence knew that people of black Caribbean and African origin are more susceptible to cold injuries,” the Daily Express reported.
While this might seem like a far-fetched reason, the lawsuit reportedly referenced research by the Army Medical Corps in 2009 showing that Black British Army soldiers were 30 times more likely than white soldiers to suffer cold injuries.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence responded to the lawsuit.
“It would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing legal investigation,” the spokesperson said. “However, all service personnel are provided with the correct clothing, equipment and training.”
The weather reportedly adversely affected Asiamah’s hands and feet during the exercises, his lawyers said.
Three years later, Asiamah claimed he still has side effects of pain and numbing in his hands and feet, forcing him to “abandon his hope of becoming a PE instructor.”
To Asiamah’s credit, according to the British Medical Bulletin, “African American men and women are 3.7 and 2.2 times, respectively, more likely to suffer CWI (cold weather injuries) than their Caucasian counterparts” and “African American males are significantly more susceptible to frostbite than Caucasian males in their study of soldiers.”
That said, who knows if the British Army is to blame considering Asiamah willingly signed up.