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Culture

Dual Pandemics: COVID-19 and Racism – What Comes Next?

None of us were ready for what 2020 had in store.

We were not prepared to face the physical and mental health effects of the Coronavirus. We are still facing mass job loss, academic changes, losing loved ones from the virus, and dealing with the loneliness from social distancing (virtual communication cannot compete with in-person connection).

Additionally, many of us were not ready to face backlash and violence for speaking out against systemic racism. Kicking off this new wave of activism in 2020 was not easy nor safe; with protests in full force, many were injured and even killed fighting for black lives. Others were shunned by friends or family for believing in and promoting the BLM movement. That having been said, here are my thoughts on global health and global injustice pandemics as well as ways to take action.

Post global health pandemic, my hope is that we normalize taking care of ourselves mentally and physically. First, we should all start taking our hygiene more seriously. Covering our coughs and sneezes properly and not standing on top of one another when we are waiting in line are basic, respectful actions that keep us and those around us safer. We also need to normalize some of the measures that are currently deemed “controversial” by some.

For example, I think we should embrace mask-wearing if we are sick and must go out in public or if we are sick, we should be encouraged to stay home from school or work. We should not be concerned about losing our jobs or pay. For students, they should not fear dropping a letter grade because they have a cold and could not get a doctor’s note in time. There is no doubt this ideal outcome starts with improving US healthcare, changing our work culture, and reforming student grading policies.

When it comes to the global injustice pandemic, unlike COVID-19, this pandemic has always been here, and it is still going to take a long time before it truly ends. I was talking to my friend about the movement; I told her those of us who were raised to disrupt racism, to be kind to people regardless of the color of their skin or how they identify, we need to use our voices. We need to amplify and convey this open-minded, inclusive mentality to those who are racist and intolerant.

As hard as it may be to accept, individuals who are hateful and going against the BLM movement may not be “bad” people, but they grew up in an environment that taught them an unhealthy, toxic way of thinking. Those of us who want positive change and to end systemic racism, we must communicate thoroughly and clearly with repetition, to those who need a lot of help reforming their unjust ideologies. It is those of us with strong voices educating the racist youth of today, that will influence a more accepting, loving, and anti-racist generation in the future. My hope is that the next generation will raise their kids to be inclusive and the positive cycle will continue.

Ending systemic racism requires us to use our voices; we can use our voices in different ways. From confronting friends, family, and even strangers about racist remarks or racist tendencies, to sharing stories and black voices on social media to donating or purchasing from black-owned businesses, there are countless ways to act anti-racist if you do not want to engage in a protest.

While both pandemics have the spotlight in 2020, the global health pandemic has an end in sight compared to the global injustice pandemic where a lot more needs to be done to conquer it.

If you like this article, check out: https://www.harnessmagazine.com/guilt-heaviness-in-the-times-of-travel-during-covid-19/

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by riannicole

Hello! My name is Rian and I'm a recent graduate from Montclair State University. I am a marketer, writer, and aspiring motivational speaker. My favorite topics to write about revolve around mental health, relationships, social change, and professional development.


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