CRISIS AND OPPORTUNITY

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It has been known that the other side of crisis is opportunity. In other words, everything generates its opposite effect, and the same can be said of the COVID-19 crisis. One of the unfortunate by-products of the COVID-19 pandemic is a plethora of fake news. As the epidemic started, there were rumors that Black people were immune to the virus and, therefore, would not be impacted by it.

Another meme that is circulating is that the virus doesn’t actually exist; the deaths and mayhem attributed to it are being caused by the implementation of 5G technology. Others say that 5G actually creates the virus in a person’s body! This ridiculous idea is actually being considered valid by people who should know better. Moreover, there are a number of people, with seemingly a disproportionate number of Blacks among them, who think that the whole idea of the pandemic is just a plot to cover up the implementation of 5G technology. This technology implementation is serving as a red herring of sorts that is keeping people from paying attention to the actual challenges presented by the COVID pandemic.

Other ideas circulating among Black people, and possibly others, is that there is no pandemic at all, and that the virus is no more lethal than the common flu. It is common to see questions raised on Facebook asking people if they have actually known of anyone personally who has been infected by the virus. Many people say that they don’t know of anyone, but some say that they do. The naysayers seem to get more attention and more “likes” by those who are insistent on proving that the pandemic is a hoax to distract people from something else that the government is doing behind the scenes. When asked what that could be, the answer is usually that they don’t know what it is, but they feel that there is a hidden agenda.

The result of these mindsets has seemingly resulted in the upswing of cases of COVID-19 infections among Black people. Interestingly, many Black people are saying that the stats regarding this are deliberately skewed to make it appear as though Blacks are leading in new infections. They ask for “proof” but do not believe it when they see it because the stats are coming from the white mainstream media, which, of course, is seen to be biased. Others who believe the stats feel that it is a government conspiracy and that Blacks are being targeted by some covert operation. There is talk of helicopters spraying neighborhoods at night and of malevolent foul-smelling fogs over certain urban areas that might be depositing toxic material on unsuspecting populations.

A lot of people actually believe these ideas. Whether they are true or not is questionable. But that is not the important point. Of greatest concern is that these beliefs are fueling reckless behaviors in many Black communities. Numerous people are just not complying with requests to stay home so that they don’t contribute toward spreading the virus. It is not uncommon to see people congregating in the streets who are not there for getting essential items from stores or commuting to work. They are just out there; they are giving parties and barbecues; they are boldly ignoring requests to “shelter-in-place.” These activities no doubt contribute to the rise in infections. There may be other reasons that people offer like lack of access to health care, or racism, but to be sure Black BEHAVIOR is a contributing factor to the spike in cases.

Now, with that said, let’s look at the opportunities connected with COVID. Chief among these is a renewed desire to connect with family and friends. Being holed up and separated from loved ones is resulting in a greater reaching out and touching of people, either by phone or internet. People are actually thinking about each other…a lot! Moreover, parents who are forced to homeschool their children are discovering the difficult task that teachers face every day, and there is a new appreciation of the work that they do. Also, the pandemic is giving people a chance to slow down and do more introspection – and the challenging jobs situation is creating new entrepreneurs who perhaps were not willing to risk taking that leap before they were forced to furlough. Finally, the underbelly of policies that place capital above people are being revealed. Hopefully, that will make a difference when people head to the polls this November. Vote! A Luta Continua.

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