I will admit that it has been somewhat of a challenge to write during this worldwide pandemic. As we continue to adapt to what ultimately may become the new normal, simple survival has taken precedence over most things. Our daily lives have become a fixation on the numbers associated with COVID-19. The tendency has been to focus on the total number of positive cases and deaths by country, state, county, city and community. Ultimately these observations led to the discovery that African Americans and people of color are being disproportionally affected by this disease. And while this appears to be a revelation to many, when we examine the experience of African Americans and people of color in this country, this should be no surprise.
There has always been a wound on the skin of African Americans. A deep wound that has been covered over by the scab of America’s indifference. A sore that has been exposed by this pandemic. A large wound, infected and forgotten by those whose job it is to watch over the people of this country, which can be very difficult when it is those same people who may be the cause of the wound. In an already segregated America, the divide now increases due to the non-discriminatory disease, COVID-19. We have discovered that in a society where often the focus is on diversity training and not disparities, our thoughts and observations are on those things that are common among us, and not our differences. When comparing people of color to the general population, the differences in health care, educational resources, and poverty are highlighted disproportionately.
When one removes the scab and examines the wound carefully, you will see that it is not a self-inflicted wound as some would have us to believe, but rather, an injury suffered from years of physical and mental conflict against systems of racism and discrimination.
It is time to remove the scabs. Despite the trials of the COVID-19 pandemic, America has yet another opportunity to learn from its mistakes. There exists a chance to recommit to all of the people of this nation. It is not the time for division, but a time for healing both literally and figuratively. My prayer is that we examine the wounds of this country, let them breathe by having open and honest conversations based on truth and accountability. Let’s hope that we don’t return to the old normal, but that we create a new normal of access and equality for all.