By DaiJah Owens
There was a lot of talk in the media last week about a mind blowing finding (insert sassy sarcasm). The black community is dis proportionally dying of Covid-19 in comparison to other racial groups. You saw panels on CNN, Instagram Lives, and even the U.S. Surgeon general held a press conference to discuss this statistic and what we can do. It was all BS! We know the systems in America were built to be a disservice to Black Americans, our health system being one of the biggest perpetrators.
You see, almost 4 weeks ago when Covid-19 started to sweep across the world, it was being called the great equalizer. It did not discriminate based on race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. It was portrayed as the newest “we’re all in this together” thing. But those of us who understand systemic oppression knew it was only a matter of time until the ethical disparities in our systems would start to rear their ugly head. And that my friends is where we find ourselves today.
People were so sure this would be the thing that brought fourth true equality. No one would have the opportunity to call out unjust treatment because it was affecting all Americans not just the black community. It’s the same logic used when President Obama was in office. Electing a black president was going to be America’s savior and rid it of it’s hundreds of years of pure evil to the black community. When will America take responsibility for the evil it inflicts on communities of color, specifically black people? When will America stop searching for a way to level the playing field instead of digging up its rotten foundation? This narrative is harmfully in giving false hope that equality is all we need to make things right. That is not the case, clearly!
I’ll repeat this until the day I die; IF WE DO NOT DISMANTLE OUR CURRENT SYSTEMS AND REBUILD TO INCLUDE ALL AMERICANS, THIS EVIL WILL CONTINUE.Disparities in our healthcare system will continue. Mass incarceration of communities of color will continue. The school to prison pipeline will continue, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Anything short of dismantlement is just another band-aide
It was easy to blame black people for us dying at higher rates of Covid-19. Afterall, we have the highest rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease in the country. But what the healthcare leaders failed to mention was the inequitable healthcare treatment we receive on a daily bases prior to the Pandemic, the ignoring of black women’s pain, the history of genocide in the name of medical advancements (i.e. The Tuskegee Experiment). You see, even if not one black person had an underlying disease, I bet we would still be dying at higher rates from this virus. The healthcare system was never setup to care for us, pre-diagnosed conditions or not.
Until America faces its past, holds itself accountable, has their day of reckoning; this will continue. Your hope for a great equalizer is in vain.
DaiJhah Owens is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. DaiJhah is passionate about shifting political power to oppressed groups through education. She believes there is nothing more powerful than an educated black woman who can smell political BS a mile away! Connect with her on Instagram at @d_nakhole!