In the first week of April this year, the first quantifiable effects of the Covid-19 virus on people of color were released in the press. April 17, 2020, Donald Trump tweeted out ‘Liberate Michigan!’ I am sure many of you think black and brown people are just paranoid when we question the timing of Mr. Trump’s tweet. While armed militias took his tweet as a clarion call to storm the Michigan State House, people of color swallowed hard and took a deep breath. No, not from fear of a bunch of toy soldiers reliving the trauma of not getting a GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip for Christmas, but again being told we are expendable, no less than by the President of the United States.
I do not need to be talked off the ledge…
As a child, I did not believe the moon was made of green cheese. At 13, no, the moon landing was not filmed on a soundstage in Hollywood. When I was in my 20s, the CIA did not plot to bring crack cocaine to the ghetto. On the other hand, yes, black men, were used as Petri dishes and died horrible deaths in the Tuskegee syphilis experiments. Henrietta Lacks was harvested like a crop for her cells. In the 1840s J. Marion Sims, renowned as the father of gynecology, operated on enslaved women, that he purchased to perfect his gynecological surgery techniques, without anesthesia. One woman reportedly was operated on at least 30 times. The numerous atrocities, degradation, and murders of black men and women in this country could fill novels and have. Books like Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.
It is no wonder that when the questions arise about taking the first vaccine to hit the market, more often than not my friends and I when asked, give an incredulous look and mumble, “I’ll have to think about it.” History is a harsh teacher and history has instructed black people in America that our lives are expendable, especially for the right price. So, after being fed lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan to save money, then being asked to pay for their own demise with their taxes for money borrowed to pay off lawsuits, people of color, will be among the first asked to step up first to take the vaccine—no worries. I like to think of myself as a reasoned pretty enlightened man. I believe wholeheartedly in science and medicine; it has saved my life more than once in recent years. At some point, my trusting intellectualism will overtake my black paranoia and I will not only take the vaccine but recommend it to my friends and family. Having said that, I am also reminded that just because you are paranoid does not mean someone is not after you.
I still look askance when I hear words like Warp Speed or Trump vaccine. People died from taking one of the first remedies he touted, hydroxychloroquine. Hawkishly pushing a drug is the lifeblood of pharmaceutical companies, so the help of a mercenary like Donald Trump was the natural next step. The real crime in our almost years-long fight against Covid-19 is that the trust, reliability of the information, and our collective feelings of togetherness has been maliciously destroyed by a man whose life is buttressed by disastrous decision making.
Georgians, Vote for Change.