Who will we be after this pandemic?
I’ve seen so many commercials emanating what the essence of the American spirit looks like. I’ve seen images of major company’s displaying their generosity to the American public by providing everything from much needed food to supplies to facial masks needed for the survival of the citizens of this country; which gives me pause as to who we are as well as what we hope to be once we come out of this global pandemic.
Who will we be when we come out on the other side of this illness? Will we have learned anything at all especially when it comes to the respect of life after a disease that has killed over 1) 106,000 people in this country alone: 370,000 souls worldwide?
I am constantly reminded of our new normal in the news cycles, the commercials that we take in as well as the people that we see on the street. Everyone has on a mask that they hope will protect them from the coronavirus.
But I wonder if we’ve truly learned a much-needed lesson from all of this. As front-line responders continue to put their lives on the line and fight for those of us that can’t, I am amazed, and I take my hat off to you. My younger brother is a police officer in Delaware. He along with many others continue to fight against crime and illness regardless of the provisions they have in place at the moment.
Will we remember those that have fallen in the name of what is right and decent? Will their lives continue to matter long after this pandemic is over even as their families continue to grieve their passing because of their unselfish sacrifice?
Or will we go back to being a divided people? I wonder if we are more comfortable hating one another for one reason manufactured in our imaginations because we need someone to blame for our misfortunes. Slowly but surely, the middle class is being erased much to the dismay of everyone around us. The blame does not rest on everyone and everything with the exceptions of where the blame rightfully belongs.
We have the choice to come out better and truly being our brother’s keeper because that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t matter how you make a difference as long as you do. Every contribution is appreciated. Every hour donated to help our neighbors who probably never thought they would need the type of assistance provided is one filled with gratitude.
More importantly, (and no one is talking about this now) is that we are seeing the slow erosion of the middle class. The middle class never thought for a moment that they would need the type of assistance that they are getting. In the meantime, the wealthy don’t experience any of the hardships that the poor and middle class have had to endure. No one is talking about that.
So, who will we be after this pandemic?
We argue, fight and agree to disagree; but we’ll always be at odds with one another. The reason for this difference is not because we don’t understand where we are as a people. We understand where we are all too well. One of the main problems with that that thought process is that we don’t believe it.
There are two America’s that exist…not one. There is an America for people of color, and there is an America for whites. The moment we understand this, the better off we’ll be. We’ll be able to address the issue of race in this country without the anger that is deeply hidden on both sides.
We need to come to grips with the fact that we have always been divided as a country. The division didn’t just come about because of Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not a cause. If you look at our history (and I hate to say this) but people of color have never been welcomed in this land unless we were to assume the role of being subservient to white people. White people need to own how they feel. They also need to own why because it’s that thought process that caused many people so much pain.
However, whenever this topic is brought up, it’s often in an accusatory tone in which white people will react with the look that all people have come to know. Anger runs deep when one race mistreats another. But the reality is that white people need to own what has happened in the past so that we can move forward as a people.
‘There are two America’s that exist…not one. There is an America for people of color, and there is an America for whites. The moment we understand this, the better off we’ll be. We’ll be able to address the issue of race in this country without the anger that is deeply hidden on both sides.” ~ J.L.Whitehead
Part of the problem is that most white people are acutely aware of what has been done. In their minds, two things are going on. One is that they personally should not be held responsible for any mistreatment of people of color in the past because in their mind, they haven’t personally violated the rights of anyone. The second is that even though the average white claims to not see color, you see it all the time.
But who will we be once the corona virus scare is over? Will white people respond with understanding or more hatred? I’m not sure because the two America’s that I described is so deeply entrenched in our DNA and yet we don’t acknowledge or respond to it.
We live under a flag that is supposed to cover all of us; but it doesn’t.
People of color should not have to hold rallies, marches or violent confrontations to show that they are Americans. But when America is divided so that one group of people get the benefit of the doubt or presumed innocence before a guilty sentence is just as bad as someone who’s not guilty but is automatically deemed guilty before they’re taken into custody.
We can choose to be what we say we are and stand up for what we believe. We can come out of the corona virus epidemic by being a little bit kinder to strangers regardless of race in addition to the neighbors they know.
We can be better…but it starts with believing and instituting that belief system in their everyday lives. We can choose to embrace our differences like we did during the pandemic. Or we can go back to hating one another. The choice is yours. What will you do?
~ J.L. Whitehead