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Pick one to worry about: coronavirus, protesting, or voting. For Black people, that’s a trick question, because to only have to think about one issue, is a form of privilege. At surface level, any community can see how these matters can be heavy for anyone to carry. Unfortunately for Black Americans, disproportionate death rates, police brutality, and voter suppression is enough to make answering the question feel like picking between three different evils. But with black skin, you don’t get to choose which one you want to bother yourself with. Instead, you wear these troubles every day like a uniform.
Let’s dissect these one at a time. The pandemic that swept the nation has affected African Americans at a disproportionate rate despite only making up 12% of the population. While this might come as a surprise and feel like an isolated number due to covid-19, the community faces discrimination on a daily basis. The higher death rates of mothers in labor and doctors not listening to health complaints, have caused many Black Americans to dread going to any professional health facility. If a system has failed you before a global virus hit it, why would it serve you now? As many black people suffer from pre-existing health conditions and maintain a less than tolerable relationship with doctors, it is extremely important to take social distancing seriously.
Isolating yourself sounds like a light responsibility, until you turn on the TV and see yet another Black person killed for simply being black. Nothing about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or Ahmaud Arbery, made them any different from the person reading this article. While some communities can stop at feeling sad, Black people are exhausted, frustrated, outraged, and pissed off at the exact same time. This laundry list of emotions makes it nearly impossible to sit on your hands and watch it happen. So how does one balance their contradicting urge to take action? Do you self-quarantine to flatten the curve or join protests to demand justice? Hold that thought.
Both of these pose similar solutions. Voting, health care and human rights are mainly determined by the leadership in place. One way to influence the country we live in, is by exercising your right to vote. Unfortunately, this is yet another hurdle. In Washington DC, only 20 of 144 in person voting polls were open. When I arrived at my voting poll, the only cancellation notice was a fallen sign in the back of the building. I can’t imagine how many other voters were discouraged and confused after arriving at other closed sites. Lines piled at polls, as voters struggled to arrive before the city-wide curfew put in place due to #blacklivesmatter protests. Even after it was announced that voters were excused from curfew, many African Americans were still frightened of the potential outcome of being pulled over after 7pm. Many have argued that voting is a peaceful way to demand justice, but history leading up to yesterday has continued to show Black Americans the countless ways their votes are suppressed.
I’m sure as you continue to read, the question posed at the beginning of the article sounds ridiculous and insensitive. Well, that’s because it is. Coronavirus, protesting, and voting are only a fraction of the burdens Black Americans are faced with before opening their mouths. When you saw the options the answer might have seemed plain, but for us, nothing is simple. Running, buying candy, driving, sleeping in your own bed, or playing with toys isn’t simple. In fact, it could cost you your life when you’re black.
Depending on how slow or fast you read, coming to the end of this article will take you roughly three minutes. Reading it three times would be the equivalent of how long George Floyd had a knee on his neck, which prevented him from breathing. Even breathing isn’t simple.
AfterBuzz TV will continue to cover the latest events around the country and justice for George Floyd. Make sure to share this article with a friend to keep the names of Floyd and other innocent Black people alive.
Toree Weaver is an AfterBuzz TV host with a passion for glamour and kingdoms. When she isn’t modeling or dancing, she can be found binge watching shows from Gossip Girl to Game of Thrones.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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