The age of innocence, i.e., the period of mature adulthood in the U.S. is probably over. At least, this is the case if the conversations around the current COVID-19 pandemic can be believed. The world, and especially the United States, which is leading the world in new cases, has been caught off-guard.
The nature of the virus is still being uncovered, with new results being revealed. For instance, at least two new cases in the United States before the first case in Washington State have become evident, which raises new questions about the virus’ origins. Basically, this virus has turned us on our heads. Almost every fragile element that has lingered beneath the surface in America is being brought to light. For example, the fact that our health care system is in much need of repair is evident, but COVID-19 has exposed glaring holes in the system that are now gaping craters.
Businesses are taking gigantic hits, since the majority of states are in varying conditions of Shelter-in-Place. This is a nightmare for our economy, and small businesses are bearing the brunt of it all. Chances are that some will be impacted to such an extent that they will never recover and eventually close. The shape of how we receive education is being totally revamped. Online learning is replacing face-to-face teachers. This bodes well for future education efforts because new educational resources are being uncovered and schools, even when children return to brick and mortar classrooms, will benefit.
The workplace is taking a similar turn with many people working from home, thanks to the availability of computers as well as various online meeting resources. Some agencies are discovering that they are saving a lot of money when employees work from home, and there is a great probability that a number of them will continue in the work-at-home mode even after the current crisis ends.
One of the biggest issues that has arisen is the real vulnerability that people of color endure in a society where capital is valued over people. Even though many will receive what are called “stimulus” checks, they will not go a long way toward leveling the economic playing field. It turns out that African Americans are suffering more from the pandemic than other groups. Because of this, there is a lot of finger-pointing as to the identity of the villains in this scenario.
Ultimately, we are all in the same boat but in different compartments in fighting this virus, and our world will permanently change as a result. This is a prime opportunity for African Americans to move to new socioeconomic levels. This will be a brutal period of economic despair as the pandemic escalates and Black people will have to find new ways to navigate life in America. This necessitates facing some unpleasant truths.
The Black community needs REPAIR – and one very learned and astute journalist/radio host has pointed out that the community suffers from a pre-existing condition that has its origins in slavery and oppression. Though absolutely true, it’s not enough to just recognize the problem. The self-destructive behavior that has resulted can cause the ultimate and complete demise of the community if the psychosocial infirmities are not addressed. For example, though it is true that a disproportionate number of African Americans have been impacted by the virus, it is also true that many of them are not taking the virus seriously and have thrown huge parties thumbing their noses at Shelter-in-Place edicts. If it is known that there are inequities in our health care system that places Blacks at a disadvantage, it would stand to reason that precautions should be taken up front in order to avoid, as much as possible, a first-person confrontation with COVID-19.
With this said, the future is going to look VERY DIFFERENT for all Americans. This is the best possible time, therefore, to create a new normal for ourselves. We will no doubt witness a complete restructuring of the American social and economic systems, and the Black community, if working with a common vision, one that addresses deficits and builds upon strengths, can thrive in a new normal of our own creation. A Luta Continua.