Soliloquy Two, Racism: Unmasked in America

What is in a mask? Whose face is in the mask, and whose is not? Last week the discussion of symbols was front and center. The leading sentiment speaks of how monoliths communicate the unspoken. When revealed, we discover the actual thoughts and intents displayed. 

Scripture reminds us that there is an innermost being; our authentic selves, which cannot stand unaccountable in the light of divine truth.

“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 Amplified Version

In psychology, a human archetype of the shadow, (id) self exist below our consciousness. This shadow can drive one’s actions unbeknown to its host. However, it can be the very driving force behind many human thoughts, prejudices, responses, and actions. The acknowledging of these tendencies will drive personal actions into a positive or negative result. 

“I don’t have to wear a mask,” “This is a free country,” or “You’re are infringing on my liberties,” is voiced throughout the COVID 19 world. Unless there are health reasons for whether or not to don facial covering, the answer should be a simple yes. 

COVID 19 has revealed systemic racism through health discrepancies between African Americans compared to the dominant culture. 

African Americans die at a rate of 50.3% per 100,000 compared to 20.7 for whites. In Chicago, African Americans makeup 30 percent of the population but account for 70 percent of the COVID 19 deaths.

“Unconscious racial bias can also contribute to unequal health outcomes, especially when health professionals are inexperienced with the culture of the community they serve, according to the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The Century Foundation found that healthcare providers located within majority African American or Latinx neighborhoods tend to provide lower-quality care.” 

‘It’s a racial justice issue’: Black Americans are dying in greater numbers from Covid-19″ the Guardian, April 8th, by Kenya Evelyn in Washington.

Voices of resistance have increased in light of African Americans’ susceptibilities. Potential ease of urgency might explain the resistance to mask-wearing. Does the fact that it is not as dangerous to white people make it easier to resist for members of that community? 

An ancillary fear of 40 percent of African Americans is becoming targeted unfairly for being black and looking suspicious while wearing a mask. Mask wearing is a show of concern for your fellow citizen. But, is it showing a lack of care when that citizen is black, or is it “all about me?” What is actually being communicated by an unmasked face? 

“This may help explain the gap in mask-wearing. Respondents who know someone who has been ill with the virus are 40% more likely to report wearing a mask in public than those who do not. Nevertheless, whites who know someone who has had the virus are 11% less likely to wear a mask than racial and ethnic minorities.” 

An appropriately used phrase would put the mask-wearing debate into context, “Black Lives Matter.” America currently finds itself in the middle of a COVID 19 five-alarm fire. “Racism is a Health Crisis” to all regardless of race.

Scripture states it this way:

The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].‘”

Matthew 22:39 Amplified Bible

Kevin Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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