What a time to be alive.
This statement has proven most pervasive in the current moment of pandemic that inundates the globe. Large, billion dollar companies continue on their plight toward greed as many globally seek to figure out how they will survive despite lost wages and the waning supply of resources amidst increased demand. Companies threaten workers with promises to fire them if they fail to report to work despite corporations demanding acquiesce to conditions that too often prove unsafe. This praxis displays what America has been all along, a fascist space ruled by white supremacy.
Trump’s position as chief commanding officer proves an easy scapegoat for the current situation. While 45 is hardly blameless, the pandemic exposes a largely flawed system system that knows how to do little else but privilege the few and oppress the many. This reality is perhaps best underscored by the large amount of celebrities granted access to testing when others remain denied because their fever is one hundred and one degrees and not one hundred and four. Trump is good for the American people because he makes it impossible to ignore governmental fault. For example, Trump’s insistence that the virus started in China arouses a deserving suspicion that may not have been afforded under previous presidencies. His presidency exposes the government as a space of chaos worthy of query— a space that must earn the people’s trust. The Trump administration exposes that the government should not be, by default, a space of complacency or comfort. For those not afforded the privilege of misbelief, this unveiling has no nuance; rather, the truth has a new inescapability.
Yet, even with the truth on full display, many espouse themselves to condemning Trump and not America as fascist. This is the belief that affords white supremacy a lethal immortality. Corona is not the virus that we as black people must overcome any more than Trump is a president that must be usurped. Eliminating both does nothing for the pervasive hegemony that rules the throne no matter who is in the seat or what is in the air. This assertion does not discount Trump and the Corona virus as bearing a toxic presence that must be overcome; rather, my contention is that they encompass symptoms not the disease.
What does it mean to “get well” and live in a white supremacist hell?
Additionally, both Trump and the Corona virus illuminate the white collective as a global priority. Let us be honest, if the Corona virus has solely impacted those of African descent, it would not be a national crisis. The global pandemic reflects a global effort to preserve white lives and most specifically, maintain the white majority.
In a world that throws the word racism around like an accessory to every unkind word, it is imperative that the black collective remembers that racism is most perniciously articulated through behavior. Distraction remains one of its most keen methodologies. For black people, Trump’s presidency and the Corona virus delineate that much of our adversity remains rooted in distraction. Furthermore, as along as we as a collective focus on curing symptoms and not the disease, we will remain sick.
So to return to the phrase I employed as an introduction to this post, let us remember that to be alive, as black people, is to be aware.
To paraphrase the teachings of the late Dr. Francis Cress Wesling: if you do not understand how racism works, the consequences may be fatal.