The United States is experiencing turmoil, not unexpected (never that), but most certainly…prescient. The year began with warnings that a pandemic was on the horizon and our national government downplayed the probability and lethality of COVID-19. (Once briefed, various politicians hoarded their monetary stocks just in case.) Faced with the escalating public health crisis, the response from federal and state governments varied to disastrous effect. There was no cohesive mandate to protect the American people at all costs — especially the cost of their lives. As the pandemic spread from state to state, information began compiling about whom was most at risk: the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. This preemptive diagnosis would soon collapse under the amassed weight of ‘young people’ affected or killed by the virus. COVID-19 by the end of May 2020 has claimed more than 100,000 lives.
“We’re all in this together.”
Black Americans are the backbone of many industrial complexes as we (knew) and many soon discovered when our work was (finally) deemed ‘essential’. This escalated risk of exposure to the virus resulted in a plethora of deaths — which would have been mitigated with a lockdown of the entire country — and not the slapdash attempts at PPE and social distancing. Racism always lurks in the background or foreground of American life and this current pandemic further highlighted the inequalities of health and wealth disparities that have been tightening around the Black American community for decades. The response to Black death is a shrug exemplified by pathologizing our trauma and collecting data rather than collecting reparations. When White citizens so forcefully (and graciously) demanded the country to reopen during the escalating pandemic, the hypocrisy of whose American rights and freedoms were being infringed upon came into stark relief. During the war of public health versus ‘we need to return to business normal’ the murder of Ahmaud Aubrey began to seep into COVID-19 news coverage.
…shots heard around the world…
Ahmaud was chased and killed by civilians who are now in custody awaiting trial. Meanwhile, police enforced the comings and goings of Black people not social distancing with harassment, arrests, and assault. Soon after we learned of Breonna Taylor who was shot to death by an unjust police raid, wherein no law enforcement officials have been relieved of duty or charged in her murder. And now…George Floyd who was asphyxiated until he died. This swirling nexus of death occurred while Black people were grappling with a pandemic and White suspicion while working and existing. The culmination of these events coupled with the malaise about our fraught social and economic disintegration was just the spark needed for the fires in Minnesota and broken glass of police vehicles. UPDATE: The investigation into the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet of Ontario, Canada is currently ongoing. Family members assert that she was pushed from a multi-story flat to her death by police. Information about the death by police of Tony McDade — a Trans-masculine Man — in Tallahassee, Florida is minimal but still being investigated.
Black Americans are tired of…
things outside of their control like physical weathering making them more susceptible to dying from COVID-19,
being forced to work with little regard for their health and mental welfare,
the police and civilians who assume the authority of the police,
having to scream every other minute that Black Lives Matter…or that we’re human…,
living in food deserts,
still living in overwhelming environmentally-toxic blight,
not receiving the reparations that we’ve been owed,
and the catalyst that birthed all of these wretched things that make me tired…RACISM.
“Now I wanted to say something about the fact that we have lived over these last two or three summers with agony and we have seen our cities going up in flames. And I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.
Now every year about this time, our newspapers and our televisions and people generally start talking about the long hot summer ahead. What always bothers me is that the long hot summer has always been preceded by a long cold winter. And the great problem is that the nation has not used its winters creatively enough to develop the program, to develop the kind of massive acts of concern that will bring about a solution to the problem. And so we must still face the fact that our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. As long as justice is postponed we always stand on the verge of these darker nights of social disruption. The question now, is whether America is prepared to do something massively, affirmatively, and forthrightly about the great problem we face in the area of race and the problem which can bring the curtain of doom down on American civilization if it is not solved.”
HGTV: What Home Improvement Programming Tells Us about Race, Redlining, and the American Dream
What Home Improvement Programming Tells Us about Race, Redlining, and the American Dream
What Home Improvement Programming Tells Us about Race, Redlining, and the American Dreammedium.com