The Racism of Reopening the U.S. Too Soon
Communities of color stand to lose the most by this premature posturing
Covid-19 is affecting Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people at far higher rates than any other group. Health disparities, access to health care, insurance, and the inability to work from home are a few of the factors causing this gap. Unfortunately, the findings have done little to change behavior or create policies to combat the racist effect of the virus.
Take the anti-lockdown protests erupting across the United States. Small mobs of White people — some armed — have been waving American and Confederate flags while gathering on the steps of state capitols to demand that their Democratic governors rescind shelter-in-place orders. They claim hitting pause on the economy in order to control the outbreak is un-American, and they have compared their plight to slavery or communism in China. The protests eerily recall White supremacy marches, like the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The protest groups have been linked to members of the Trump administration, gun rights groups, right-wing extremists like the Proud Boys, and Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
The real issue is their dangerous and heartless views mirror those of racist and xenophobic elected officials, who have the knowledge and the power to slow the spread of Covid-19 but simply refuse to do so.
For the most part, anti-lockdown protests are inconsequential. The protestors are garden variety Trumpers simply looking for the next outrage rally. They are puppets carrying out the orders of their puppet master, who deliberately obscures the difference between rights and protections. The real issue is their dangerous and heartless views mirror those of racist and xenophobic elected officials, who have the knowledge and the power to slow the spread of Covid-19 but simply refuse to do so.