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Who Wants to Return to Normal?

April 18, 2020 pm30 11:19 pm

Well, everyone, right?  That was an easy question.

But maybe not.

In the last few days I have seen that view challenged in three ways. And all of them are worth thinking about.

First, let’s think about “return to normal” – that means before the pandemic?  But two months ago, it meant before Trump? How much of a difference is there?

  1. I saw this posted on Instagram:  Image

The version I saw was attributed to Brené Brown, who tweeted: “I’ve seen this attributed to me, but it’s not my quote. After digging in, we found the original and it belongs to Sonya Renee Taylor. If you’re going to share these beautiful and powerful words – please use this image with her name. Attribution matters.”

Attribution fixed, it’s all good, as Brown indicates.

2. “… the pre-Trump period gave birth to — Trump! ”

Wow. Just wow. Dial things back to 2015, and we have a country about to propel Donald Trump to the presidency. That’s not a normal place. That’s not a place I want to recreate.

3. A slew of articles, the numbers increasing in recent days, about racism and the pandemic. This is from the Atlantic. This is from the New Yorker. There are many, many more.

Here’s something a former student, now a teacher, wrote last week: ”

“Currently watching the president’s briefing as they discuss how coronavirus disproportionately affects African Americans. Fauci mentions how this is due to disparities in chronic underlying health conditions (he specifically mentions diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma), but, being a health educator that’s passionate about our health, I wish he would have explained WHY. It’s not because Black people are necessarily negligent in regard to health or simply don’t take care of themselves. It’s not because Black people are genetically inferior. It’s because of structural racism in this country. It’s because of the unequal access to healthcare, education and job opportunities. It’s because of the low quality of care we receive. It’s because of residential segregation that results in African Americans living in lower quality neighborhoods due to environmental factors such as air pollution, and the inability to access healthy foods and exercise.

And instead of just stating how African Americans are disproportionately “unhealthy,” I wish they would say what they are actually DOING to help us…”

And it goes beyond just the pandemic. In the dark days of December 2016 and January 2017 there were discussions, all over, about how to combat Trump. I remember being told to put questions of race aside, that they would sow disunity, and that we could work on racism after we defeated Trump. I’m sure others heard similar comments. That’s not the sort of thinking I want to return to.

– – — — —– ——– ————- ——————— ————- ——– —– — — – –

So I don’t think I want things to go back to “normal” – I want to build a better place than we had before. And as important as social distancing and the November election are, we need to do much, much more to build that place.


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