What is America?
Is it a plot of dirt littered with the discarded bones of those who stood in the way of white manifest destiny or is it a Constitution? Is it an assemblage of huddled masses yearning to breathe free or is it simply a series of borders on a map? Is the idea of liberty and justice even a real thing or is it an apparition that only white people can see?
If you are black, these are not rhetorical questions. In the real America, rhetoric, liberty and justice are concepts afforded to the people whose birthright and skin color give them the freedom to contemplate theoretical abstractions. The rest of us are simply speed bumps and potholes along the path of white privilege treasure hunters. We are bodies meant for sacrifice...
And they are liars.
Somehow, their idea of “liberty and justice for all” excludes mass incarceration or the war on drugs black people. When small-government conservatives advocate for “states’ rights,” they are not talking about the black and brown people who live in Republican-controlled Southern states. The evangelical Christian, “pro-life” propaganda does not include the people awaiting execution on death row who are 55 percent black. When they insist that “All Lives Matter,” they are not even referring to us.
Life is for white people.
They hold one truth to be self-evident: That all men are not created equal. That only they are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s why a legion of entitled, right-wing sycophants are now demanding that their governors “open up the country”.
But their America isn’t real.
It is a beautiful but self-serving fantasy they made up. It is not that they don’t know about inequality and the murderous history of whiteness in America. It is not even that they don’t care. They truly believe in a white-centric nation that values their bodies above all else—black lives be damned.
And so whiteness damns us...
As the number of confirmed U.S. COVID-19 cases approaches 800,000 and the national death toll has eclipsed 42,000, an overwhelmingly white protest movement is taking to the coronavirus-infected streets demanding that governors and state health authorities go against the advice of doctors, scientists and that lady whose scarf game is unmatched and rescind the only effective method of fighting the spread of this global pandemic. Undeterred by widespread death and disease, protesters in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, New Hampshire, Idaho, Texas and California are pressuring states to remove stay-at-home restrictions because they’d rather see people die than watch their 401Ks decrease in value. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump tweeted his support for the “civil rights” protesters:
The president and his MAGA lynch mobs argue that America is on the cusp of a crippling recession and widespread unemployment and, according to their calculations, there is only one way to prevent this impending economic crisis:
Kill more black people.
Let’s be clear: every bit of available data shows that black and brown people are the ones who are suffering the most from COVID-19. And it’s not just in urban areas like New York and Chicago. It’s doing the same thing in rural black communities like Allendale, S.C., St. John the Baptist Parish, La. and Albany, Ga. Black residents outnumber whites in eight of the 10 cities with the highest coronavirus death rates per capita. Only one, Greensburg, Ind. is majority white. Even in Vermont, the whitest state in the union, the percentage of black people infected with COVID-19 is 10 times the black population percentage.
The suffering is not restricted to those infected. According to CBS News, black workers are less likely to be able to work from home and The Guardian reports that black employees are more likely to be employed as “essential workers.” As the unemployment rate skyrockets, the percentage of black people losing jobs nearly doubles the white unemployment rate. There is no doubt that black people are bearing the brunt of this pathogen’s deadly attack.
Lest one think this is a rudderless, organic movement of misguided privileged citizens, think again. The rallies were organized and funded by wealthy, right-wing political groups like the Tea Party Patriots, the Devos-backed Michigan Freedom Fund and the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a GOP-supporting, gun-rights organization. Wisconsin’s much-publicized protest didn’t take place in Milwaukee, where the black population has been ravaged by COVID-19. Instead, it took place in nearby Waukesha County, which is 89.5 percent white and only 1.4 percent black.
There is one other interesting fact about the Waukesha County, home to the downtrodden, huddled masses who are desperate to open up their decimated local economy:
Waukesha County is the wealthiest county in Wisconsin.
No, it’s not that Trump, his conservative acolytes and the Republican Party value money over lives. Knowing the facts, anyone pushing the “open the economy” narrative is sending a clear signal. This particular decision is not a choice between the lesser of two evils. Instead, they are openly stating their willingness to sacrifice black lives for white prosperity. In their desperate search for a political and economic get-out-of-pandemic-free card, the president and his minions are staring black and brown people in the face while channeling the words of Marie Antionette:
“Let them eat death.”
They want us to die.
America is blood.
It was, it is and it always will be.
This recent example isn’t particularly different from All Lives Matter advocates’ refusal to acknowledge the racial data behind police killings or the value of black lives. It’s no different than Alabama’s pro-life Gov. Kay Ivey signing a bill to ban abortions while assassinating Nathan Woods for not killing someone. It’s America’s story of slaughter and slavery and genocide and Jim Crow and Japanese-American internment camps and Charlottesville, Va., and child detention centers and Tuskegee and Tulsa and Bombingham and “Both Sides” and Trayvon and Trump…
It’s always us.
We believe our lives matter and they just say they do. They are chomping at the bits to sacrifice our lives and open up their country because their statement and actions clearly show that, for them, our bodies hold no value. Whiteness is their most precious commodity.
But only our blood.
Whatever this thing called America may be, they have made it abundantly clear that they do not believe in it. They wave the flags and pretend that they love America, but if the bloody fingerprints embedded in this nation’s neverending pain have taught us anything, it is this:
They are liars.
They won’t even try to wash their hands.