This has been a season of expectations and loss.
Only because I am an optimist and I have very good friends who give me cause for hope, I do not despair.
When the pandemic started to affect us, I was hopeful that we would come out of it better people. I was hopeful that our mutual fear and suffering would bring us all together and that we would have one common enemy: “the virus.” I expected my fellow Americans to share a common concern for one another and be thankful that they had been blessed to live through this mess. I looked at the nice videos of storytelling for children and families rejoining one another and felt good for the sacrifices we were all making, looking forward to hugging my loved ones who I haven’t seen in person or touched for months.
But in the midst of all of this, I recognized that there is a more insidious virus that lives among us and threatens us every day. It’s called racism. And it is far more dangerous than COVID-19 because it has been allowed to grow unchecked for too long. Black, brown, people of color, the working poor know what racism is and not in an intellectual way. We live it and suffer from the consequences daily. Even if you don’t know you have the racist virus you might have it and might be an asymptomatic carrier if you do not recognize what it is and try do better.
These past few months have shown us great loss: over 100,000 people in the United States dead due to COVID-19; African Americans dead because of the racist virus and continued loss of something that I cannot even name due to this racist virus that empowers people to exert their privilege over those that that they feel entitled to exert their racist privilege over; Central Park Amy; the guy in the gym who called the police on black tenants using their gym; just to name a few. The list would go on endlessly if you asked black, brown, people of color and the working poor what they experience every day.
We have lost a lot and we are recognizing it as it rolls out in front of us. No conclusions here, the story continues. The end will truly be up to you and us as Americans.