The onslaught of the global health pandemic COVID-19 has brought out the best in many of us and the worst in others. It has also exposed the ugly truths of racism, white privilege and white supremacy.
As our nation’s leader continues to espouse divisive rhetoric that emboldens people to act out in aggressive ways, some Americans have sunk to a new low. Xenophobia against Asian Americans is on the rise. Health care disparities among African Americans have worsened during the pandemic due to systemic racism. Black and brown people are being disproportionately arrested for not properly following social distancing guidelines.
On May 1, when hundreds of white protesters, many of them armed with assault rifles, descended on Michigan’s state capitol to oppose stay-at-home rules, President Donald Trump referred to them as “very good people” – reminiscent of his comments when violent white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
Yet, when unarmed Black Lives Matter protesters marched in response to police brutality, we were called thugs. We were told black people would not be killed if they would just comply with police orders. We were told that the victims were suspects in crimes, and this justified their murders, without being afforded a constitutional right to a fair trial. We were told that armed officers feared for their lives while pursuing their unarmed victims.
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