I haven’t written in a few months. Its hard to even focus long enough for this short piece. I was on a roll feeling good and then Covid-19 changed everything. I am lucky because I can still work from home and I am grateful to be employed by our family business. There are days when I just don’t get to work and my dad understands. Homeschooling 3 kids is a lot. Not having the time and space to decompress alone has been a real struggle. But by far the most challenging and unexpected part has been dealing with the overwhelming presence of racism and white supremacy coaxed out by the virus. And let me be clear I always expect white supremacy and racism to weave its way through my daily life, I foolishly didn’t expect it to be a major side effect of Covid-19.
I was prepared with toilet paper, sanitizer, and a well stocked snack cabinet. What I didn’t think about was how I would handle report after report, post after post, and all the daily reminders that in this country equality is a luxury Black and Brown people can’t afford. Not that forethought would matter, the trauma of racial inequity will always persist. Perhaps its the lack of escape that makes this burden unusually heavy. No Sunday family dinners, no backyard get togethers and no nights out with friends. No where to retreat and shut out the suffocating reach of white supremacy. Its everywhere. I see it in the packed subway cars in NY exposing Black essential workers. Its in the lack of testing in urban areas and Congress debating over who deserves to struggle and who doesn’t. People are dying and to a large portion of the country it’s just collateral damage.
I saw a white woman protest quarantine with a sign that said muzzles are for slaves and dogs, not people. That message took the air out of my lungs. On the surface comparing wearing a mask for the protection of others to slavery was bad enough, but the underlying message cut deep. Black people are nothing but slaves, we deserved to be tortured. (FYI Iron muzzles, gags and yokes were used to torture and break Africans into subordination) And we are no better than dogs. Well maybe not on the same level as dogs, they fair much better when it comes to advocacy than Black People in America. Look at Central Park and Amy Cooper. The comments were filled with rage over the dogs treatment. I did not see the same level of care and concern for Christian Cooper’s life and mental well being. I even wonder if the dog had not been part of the equation would it have elicited such a strong response. Three different stories of white people falsely accusing Black people made national headlines this weekend. Then the manifestation of that fear, lack of empathy and dehumanization puts its knee on George Floyd’s neck and murdered him.
Please do not say this is not what America is. This is the foundation of everything you hold dear. Its the freedom to threaten politicians and spit on police so you can have the right to expose people to a deadly disease in the name of profit, but only if you are the right complexion. As documented over and over again, speaking up against real injustice will get you blackballed, beaten, arrested and killed.
And with all this on my mind I have to remember to stay 6ft apart, but I need a hug.