Your state’s approach to ‘re-opening’ tells you whether they believe Black Lives Matter.

Across the country, we are seeing communities go through the same thing we went through here in New York, people testing positive for the coronavirus disease (or COVID-19) and then the mad scramble for hospital beds, ventilators and protective equipment staff. . Hospital staff endure the experience of watching patients’ health rapidly deteriorate, having to convey painful messages to their loved ones, having to explain why they cannot remain by their loved ones’ side.

I have been here. I know the trauma. It hurts on a deep and lasting level. It hurts to see another person experience it and know that you can’t erase that pain for that person.

I knew from the beginning that this virus would be a nightmare for Black America. The moment it was reported that this virus affects people with compromised immune systems (also known as “immunocompromised”), it became clear: this virus would be hell in our cities.

So it was.

Source: cdc.gov, data accurate as of July 2, 2020

Based on the latest data on which communities are hardest hit, well, it’s exactly what many of us thought. And these are simply hospitalization rates; These are only cases serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. Have No idea of ​​how many people are suffering in the privacy of their own homes.

In cities across the United States, the numbers are chilling. In numerous reports published in late April and early May, we saw entire cities where more than 60, 70, 80% of those hospitalized were black and brown.

And then, the narrative was established: Sure, the disease can be deadly and dangerous, but it’s just In fact killing black people, so… that’s technically his problem, no ourso us We can go back to normal again, right?

Worse yet, it has been implied that our very high COVID-19 mortality rates are directly related to our cleanliness, something that is both a dog whistle and a “welfare queen.” At a hearing about the disease and its disparate outcomes, Ohio State Senator Steve Huffman, who is also reportedly an emergency room doctor, asked:

“My point, as I understand it, African Americans have a higher incidence of chronic disease and that makes them more susceptible to dying from COVID,” Huffman said at a public hearing.

“But why doesn’t it make them more susceptible to just getting COVID? Could it simply be that African Americans or people of color are not washing their hands as well as other groups or wearing masks or social distancing? “Could that be the explanation for the higher incidence?” [source]

We are dirty and unhealthy, and our deaths are not something that society at large should worry about because it is not a social problem; it is a matter of us failing in our objectives. personal responsibility be… clean enough.

From here the swirl of drains began.

No The effort aimed at slowing or stopping the spread of the virus was worth it. It was described as “not that dangerous” and “not worth destroying the economy,” even as Black people lay in hospital beds, depending on ventilators to live. It wasn’t worth imposing a legitimate lockdown to save lives, while we watched public health experts beg us to stay home to protect essential workers from unnecessary exposure, workers who were predominantly black and brown. People were not willing to sacrifice themselves to save their fellow human beings primarily because, at the time, most of the lives affected were black and brown.

It’s not even worth wearing a mask. Several states refuse to impose any kind of mask requirement on their residents, presumably because it is not politically expedient to tell people that the only thing that can save the lives of their family, friends, and neighbors is the one thing these people don’t do. I want to do: sacrifice myself to save another human life, especially if that life is black.

What we are witnessing is a culture of apathy, which treats a public health crisis as if it were no big deal, because presumably it only affects black and brown people. Click to tweet

That’s why we’re looking at multiple states. [not named New York] Experience something none of us have ever seen in our lives: a plague that steals the lives of your loved ones, and because they are immediately quarantined, you don’t even get a chance to say a proper goodbye.

What we are witnessing is a culture of apathy, which treats a public health crisis as if it were no big deal, because presumably it only affects black and brown people. “His lives are not my concern. It’s okay to not care about what affects their lives, their communities, their families. That is his responsibility. It’s okay to break the social contract when it comes to those people. It doesn’t affect me. He-they-It doesn’t matter.”

To me, that’s racist… ahh, never mind.

The spell of this apathy was only broken when it became clear that younger, whiter, fitter people were also succumbing to the virus. And at this point, it seems it might be too late.

The refusal to do the basic work that could save the lives of the Black and Brown people who dominate essential job positions, the Black and Brown people who suffer the most, sends a message. You cannot affirm that “all lives matter” in one breath and refuse to protect those lives in the next. Either you believe black lives matter and deserve collective sacrifice, or you don’t.

More about the coronavirus:

Photo credit: Nour Chamoon.

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