“’I’m glad I’m not the only Black guy up in here with a mask and gloves on,’ they both say wordlessly. And then they go their separate ways,” wrote Reverend Pedro Silva about the experience of being a black man in the grocery store in the time of Corona.
Pedro goes on to describe spotting two other black men grocery shopping. One is wearing a mask like him, the other is not. At checkout, the two in masks bump into the unmasked man, who says,
“Bruh, I’m just looking out for you. I’d rather get Corona than a bullet. People see you walking around here with your face covered and Corona or not, they will get nervous. And you know what that can lead to.”
The masked man who in this very moment is again considering removing his mask says, “I know what you mean bruh. I was tempted not to wear my mask either. But I’m wearing it for my family. So they’ll feel better about me coming in here and coming back to them.”
Considering this, the man who never masked says with empathy, “I hear you man. You have to look out for your family. That makes sense.”
All three men finish up packing their bags. Their conversation has returned to the knowing silence that often says more than words ever could.”
You can read Pedro’s thoughtful piece in its entirety here.
Coronavirus lays bare the urgent health discrepancies in our country. The CDC reports that a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 illness and death falls among racial and ethnic minority groups.
But, as Pedro shares, there are layers of racially-tinged social implications that this virus has also brought to the surface.
To help us grapple with these issues, we’ve created a new conversation guide, Race in the Time of Corona.
As a nation, we’re worn down from the Corona-coaster, but the hits keep on coming. Alone, this crisis can feel like too much to bear. But because it’s also shining a massive spotlight on all of the fractures, inequalities, and injustices of our society, we must make a critical choice.
In this moment of reckoning, we can allow fear to drive our basest emotions, or, we can lean into to each other, have difficult conversations, and create a future where there truly is liberty and justice for all.
With each passing day, the stakes get higher. Will we rise to meet them?