Photo by: @mothermay_i_photo
There's an immense amount of toxic positivity and misinformation surfacing amidst these uncertain times as COVID-19 continues to make its debut across planet Earth. I see social media post after post shouting about their productivity goals and attempts towards something other than utter despair and fear, which is an understandable case. These are uncomfortable times and nothing is certain, and naturally this would induce a very normal amount of fear in anyone involved. Those feelings and emotions are valid, and it is okay to experience them and sit with them. I’m not here, writing this today, to sway you from what you're truly experiencing. In fact, I am here to acknowledge the reality of this pandemic. If your productivity looks like crying and releasing for the day or gathering some much needed rest after many years of being overworked, we hear you and we see you. If you’re chasing your children around and trying to home-school them when you’ve never had to before, we understand it is not easy. If you’re sad or feel lonely whilst social distancing, we empathize and send you virtual hugs. Your experience is valid.
Now, I must admit that there is often a stark and magnified contrast between these hyper-active, uber productive social media influencers and CEO's spouting 'encouragement for the day' and 'five tips to reach your goals while on lockdown': they're white, they're privileged, they're white and gold collar workers, and/or they come from money. It's easy to bury your head during a pandemic and act as though everything is “hunky dory” when you're a dragon sitting on your mountain of gold or someone else's for that matter. It is easy to feel like "this too shall pass" when the color of your skin is privilege in and of itself, you’re a cis-gender male, or everything you own and live for is carefully paid for by the immense wealth you have acquired or inherited and/or the job that you so comfortably were able to transition to your couch in your pajamas. Now, none of this is said to make you feel guilty or to entice a specific response from you. What a relief it is that you can live and experience life so comfortably during trying times. However, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that these aforementioned circumstances are rooted within the utmost privilege, and today I write for those without the same privileges for the sake of reality and for the sake of the collective.
“The stocks are going to be just fine.” Donald Trump assured us. "We're gonna have to make some difficult trade-offs” Larry Kudlow, the director of the U.S. National Economic Council stated whilst advocating for Trump’s desire to re-open and re-expose our economy so that the stock market might take less of a hit. They mean we will have to trade off an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Why? It benefits our economy to have a healthy stock market. However, many of those benefitting aren’t properly advocating for nor giving back to the oppressed and marginalized groups who are in less desirable situations and have been since long before this pandemic. History has shown us that men’s income levels return post pandemic at a much faster rate than womxn, POC (people of color), and LGBTQ if the latter returns at all. So, a 2 trillion dollar relief bill was discussed and approved as relief for those in need, but who will actually see this money? How difficult will it be to access? I received an email today that I COULD be eligible to receive $1,200 if my household income didn’t make over 75K this last year. $1,200 for those in need isn’t near enough to cover the cost of testing, healthcare, food, and shelter. This is the wool; a sugar coating for a much larger economic problem.
On the topic of testing for COVID-19, Trump assured us that insurance companies would be waiving charges for coronavirus testing. However his statement was false, and insurance companies swiftly corrected him stating that “co-pays” only would be waived for testing. There will still be charges for any procedure taken if tested positive for the virus. Right now, we have to prioritize consuming valid information. We have to continue prioritizing what our officials are not properly prioritizing.
Our leadership, the media, social media are keeping us hyper focused on COVID-19 only. If we continue to focus on the pandemic only, a cure, a vaccine, relief money, we will be missing the thousands, millions of women put out of jobs and income for their families; forced to care for their children and home school them round the clock (a very difficult, full time job with absolutely no pay) and why? "A pandemic magnifies all existing inequalities (even as politicians insist this is not the time to talk about anything other than the immediate crisis)." stated Helen Lewis in her article entitled "The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism". Well, of course they don't want us discussing anything other than what they're specifically choosing for us to discuss so that we might remain blinded to said inequalities and inconsistencies within our system. Let us not forget the leaders and POTUS that brushed off this pandemic in the beginning. Let us not make the same mistakes AGAIN and again and again. May we sit in this silence before us and not just hear but listen to the voices of our activist predecessors and take action!
It is commonly accepted that those with privilege and with money are more capable of making decisions FOR us or that they benefit the stock market and economy more than the backbone of people that ALSO consume and perform the jobs no one else wants to do to keep these companies afloat. Let’s not forget the many WOC (womxn of color) that have never had the opportunity to go to work because they’re sidelined to child bearing and raising culturally or due to economic stigma. We will be missing the 2 million of the LGBTQ community that work in the service industry, 1 million in the healthcare industry, and half a million in retail that are also completely put out of jobs or are heavily exposed to the COVID-19 virus. What about the POC communities that have been marginalized for centuries so much so that many of them never had access to the education to be able to recover from this sort of economic pandemic or any past pandemic? How many decades of painstaking protest, hard work, and activism are we putting them back now? What about the people without access to computers? What about the disabled with no access to file for relief? What are we going to do to continue offering relief for those in need for months and years into the future?
These have always been issues. They’re not new concerns or topics of conversation. They’re simply magnified because of this pandemic. When do we start to collectively advocate for them ALL the time even when the rich, white man is not affected? Aren’t these the people that should most definitely be seeing the 2 trillion dollar relief alongside small, local business owners? How do we make this happen? We stand together. We unite. We speak our minds and continue elevating each other. We VOTE! We show up for our communities. We focus on the reality of things and not what the media tells us to focus on. We protest. We demand valid information, and we stand together. We are in this together, and those of us with vast privilege need to be elevating these communities and putting them first. The media wants us to be in survival mode, but it’s time we operate as a collective healing, creating, curating, and standing together as one. We the people! Peace and Love.
author: Emily Indigo