Racism is a pandemic. At the height of COVID-19, people were afraid. Stay-at-home orders were issued across the country asking people to quarantine themselves until further notice. In the midst of us losing our sense of normalcy, Facebook erupted with angry and judgmental comments and posts. Although the words were hard to stomach sometimes, I understood the fear. The coronavirus was new, scary, and created lots of uncertainties. It was changing life as we all knew it. However, we have remained confident in the fact that Science has evolved and we rely on its evolution and experts to help calm our fears as a vaccine is being discovered.
Currently, the fear we all see in our feeds and in comments have shifted. And let me just add, some of us have some unfriending to do. For people of color, specifically Black people, even though this disease we are facing is scary and it creates uncertainties, it is not new. This is life as we know it. Technology has helped to substantiate our fears throughout its evolution. The racial crimes committed against our great-grandparents weren’t recorded but the crimes committed against our children are. For those of us with darker skin, we understand the fear created by a pandemic. We live through a pandemic every single day. Racism is the real pandemic and up-to-date there has been no cure. Unlike COVID-19, it’s most likely to kill a Black person instead of the person carrying this deadly, contagious disease. It destroys everything it touches. Not only has it stolen the lives of our husbands, fathers, sons, and daughters but it also kills dreams and aspirations. My only hope for a vaccine is the love, acceptance, and evolution of the hearts of future generations.
Reading the hateful and ignorant posts and comments on Facebook this week has not been shocking which is disheartening. I’ve read disgusting comments made by White people but also by people from other ethnic groups. They devalue Black people’s existence and contribution to the human race. Unless we are scoring touchdowns, shooting the winning shot in Game 7, creating music to dance to for wedding receptions, or buying products from their stores, Black people are voluntarily unseen and unheard. Unless our college athletes are bringing money to the program and the University, they are disregarded. Will there ever be a cure for this pandemic? I don’t know. Just like with COVID-19, everyone won’t comply with finding a solution. Not everyone believes racism is a real issue because they have never been and will most likely never be directly affected by it.
COVID-19 doesn’t always present visible evidence of its presence in everyone and neither does racism. But just because you’re asymptomatic, does not mean you’re not contagious. Racism is evil and wreaks of narcissism. It eats away at the heart and externally it shows. A mask, a pair of gloves, or standing 6ft away from people won’t hide or help that. If you are carrying this vile disease, stay at “home”. If “home” is where the heart is, you need to quarantine yourself off of social media and away from others before you infect or affect anyone else. Examine your heart. Besides, change happens in the heart before it is truly manifested in actions.
As Black people in this country, we want basic human rights for ourselves and our children. We want systematic racism to die a horrible death. We want our neighborhoods to be safer and our children to thrive in school. We want our grocery stores to carry fresh produce and meat. We want our pregnant moms to be afforded quality healthcare for themselves and our beautiful babies. We want our children to leave home safely and return safely. We want equal opportunities for jobs and colleges because there is a genuine belief that we are equal. We want our voices to be heard because we were created with one, by the same God who created yours. Our hearts beat like yours. We have families, we cry, we get angry, we want better, and we love just like you do. We want a safe present and a safe future for our children. We want basic human rights.
It’s time to get uncomfortable and have honest conversations about race. Conversations that will provoke a change of hearts, changes in our country and in our local communities. Whether you’re Black, White, or the many shades in between, we cannot ensure that EVERY person moves through life with their God-given right to live freely, if we return to ignoring this disease.