It is incredible what we can accomplish when we dedicate ourselves to it. It is sheer determination, perseverance dedicated to an identified need that fuels our motivation.You’re familiar with the saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” Please pay attention to the metaphorical content within.
When the first computer was designed, there was certainly much push back. People grew used to using paper and pencil to store data. Many doubted it’s success, and believed that no one would not only want to, but couldn’t, change their behavioral patterns and daily habits. People didn’t want to and saw no usefulness in this new way of doing business and navigating their lives. But, just a short years later, here we are- living in a computer- driven society. Most of us will probably agree that we are much better because of technology.
In the midst of a modern day ‘plague’ called COVID-19, people were now dying at incredible rates. People were leaving us prematurely Death was relatively short, from time of infection. This virus was non-discriminatory. It infected anyone who came into contact with it, infecting people by proxy. We had carriers and they passed it along. People died from being infected by friends, family, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, employer-employee, teacher-student, and so forth. It was determined to be communicable.
There’s a theory about violence, that says, “violence begets violence”. Similarly, COVID spreads exponentially, throughout communities, families and cities and states. As people travel, they take it with them. Most of the time, people don’t realize that they are infected. Worse yet, some don’t believe that it exists. But, without some form of protection, it is passed along anywhere there are people- homes, schools, hospitals, courts, law enforcement, and so forth.
Even after being identified and diagnosed, the source pinpointed with incredible precision, it persists and threatens people’s lives and livelihood. After just a short period of time, this virus began to morph into different strains of itself. The symptoms began to be altered, but the underlying virus remained the same. We had begun to treat the original symptoms, ‘look’ of the virus, assuming that the medical ‘cure’ had worked. Metaphorically, the name changed, but the disease remained the same. It quickly began to replicate itself, now specific to populations, geographic locations. We have yet to find any individual who has been identified as ‘immune’ to the virus, neither COVID nor violence in society, whether through direct or indirect contact.
We have yet another terribly communicable ‘virus’ which permeates and persists in our society. This virus is equally, if not more, insidious and deadly. It is called ‘racism’. This highly contagious ‘disease’ can be compared to COVID-19, in many fundamental ways that should warn us of its ability to replicate itself and threaten the fundamental tenets of this government. It causes harm. Based on the inhumanity of human bondage in unbridled greed, . Just as violence, racism can be and is proven deadly on a daily basis. Few survive its terror, when coming into direct contact with BOTH violence and COVID-19. Our first COVID realizations informed us of the racial disparities in death toll. At the center of all contributing factor in producing these disparities is racism.
It can be agreed that there has always been some form of violence associated with racist ideologies. Racism IS violence! It can also be agreed that racism, violence and COVID are all communicable- they all are spread through human contact. Each can be deadly. We have seen this in our nation’s history, from slavery to Emmit Till to Jim Crow practices to MLK, Jr. to George Floyd and countless named and unnamed others. If white supremacy holds the pen, then racism is the paper upon which all is written.`
Unfortunately, we have permitted racism to persist for far too long. It remains structural and personal, even into the present day. Also, it has morphed into a myriad of areas of out daily life. There is immaculate perceptions, implicit bias, racial and social injustice, microaggression, and more that have emerged as descriptors of different manifestations of racism grounded in white supremacy.
Question: Do we need a refresher course in the origins of racism? Include violence in that question. Without a host of psychologists, sociologists, historians, psychometricians, and educators working in concert, one would presume racism as an untouchable, incurable, inherent social condition. Not so. Tackling racism with as much urgency as COVID-19, we can actually begin to cure racism from contaminating our democracy and eradicate it from society. Professionals, from multiple fields can engage in a deep-dive into how racism exists as a daily threat to the lives of innocent people.
Collaboration can begin between all stakeholders to initiate a global research project, designed to dissect the various forms of racism that operate in society. Get down to the root of racism. Identify how and where it impacts people’s lives, and design and develop theories and plans to eradicate it, beginning from the bottom to the top. The top being the immediately identifiable signs of racism. But, unless we get to the bottom, being structural, it too, will persist.
There is no humane reason why we have not sought to rid ourselves of the scourge and ignorance of racism in society. The most logical reason could be that racism serves a purpose for a select group of people. If so, they must pull the strings in society- the decision-makers, power players; basically, those living in comfort and influence of wealth. Everyone else enjoys the ride, yet perpetually at the expense of the ‘other’.
That doesn’t describe most of us in society, however. If majority rules, then we the people, can overturn those few, even in the face of their ‘power’. It happens everywhere. Beginning with the youngest among us, we can prevent the harm done t everyone of us, caused by racism. One of the most powerful solutions to racism utilized to reinforce the vaccine, is education. It is through this pathway to adulthood that racism is supported year after year.
Anti-racist teaching is not authentic when utilizing standardized texts to supplement instruction. Children spend far more time with their textbooks than they spend receiving direct instruction. It is that which is written that must align with anti-racist, inclusive culturally responsive teaching. This simple vaccine is injected into children and they take new ideas, and ‘food for thought’ home to their families. From there, a seed is planted that grows and spreads throughout communities. That IS the VACCINE that we can inoculate everyone both to mitigate and prevent racism. Education is THE most effective pathway towards an anti-racist society. It is preventive. It is healing. It is how we get into ‘good trouble’.
We desperately need to cease normalizing the harm caused by racism, and we can do this with a courageous sense of urgency. We deserve better; children deserve better than those of us who’ve been infected with racist ideology. The years of silence have hurt too many innocent people already, and sadly, so many of us don’t even realize that we are infected and that we, too, are unwittingly spreading it.
If not a believer, then just try another way to educate children with a vaccine, and see what happens next. If we don’t like what we see, we’ll just have to make the necessary adjustments. Whatever we do, we cannot go backwards. When and who will develop and offer the most efficacious vaccine for racism? In the best interest of children and families, and the strength of our democratic society, this is the best time to develop this vaccine….. when everyone is paying attention. Why are you still here? Let’s get to it.