MY TWO CENTS: CREATING OUR 'NEW NORMAL'
By Dr. Clara James Scott
I know you have heard or said it: “I can’t wait to get back to normal.” News flash: Things will never get back to normal. We will adapt to a new normal-pretty much like how life changed after 9/11.
Yes, these are stressful and anxious times as we juggle four (avoidable) major GLOBAL crises: racial and social justice protests, COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and the political climate.
The consciousness of racial and gender acceptance is at an all-time high. First, let’s talk about race relations because I believe it is the basis of many other problems. The public killing of George Floyd has confirmed what we as Black people have been saying forever. The systemic and institutional racism has “had its knee on the neck” of and suffocating Black lives since legal slavery (1619–1865) until today within the criminal justice system.
Two hundred forty-six (246) years of slavery built this country from the free labor in cotton fields to the architectural designs of buildings and inventions. In addition, Black people paid with the agony of brutal beatings, mutilations, rapes, separation of children and adults and ultimately death. In 1865, more than 10 million slaves were freed with no resources, creating a pipeline of plantations to prisons.
In spite of this hardship, during Reconstruction (1865-1877), Black people owned successful businesses and were elected to local, state and federal offices. The gains of Reconstruction were erased with ignorance that created fear by stereotyping Black people as stealing jobs from low-income whites, as animals and as rapists of white women.
With the birth of the Jim Crow era, many successful Black-owned businesses and towns like Rosewood, Fla., and Tulsa, Okla., were burned. Black people were lynched and whites received postcards with pictures of lynching to celebrate. I encourage you to research the term “Picnic”. Not only do we need to be educated about the contributions and mistreatment of black culture, but all cultures.
As for Black people, in spite of the countless acts of wrongness, many including myself have persevered and became successful members of society and accept all people. As Black people, we are exhausted with having to justify our existence. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you earn or whatever we accomplish in life; it is never enough to prevent us or our children from being subjected to racial slurs, denial to employment and promotions, playing time on teams and ultimately police harassment and brutality.
Children are not born hating or fearing others; it is a taught behavior.
Donald Trump and his fan base were taught to dislike others. He is in office as a backlash for having our first elected Black president. Because he does not like President Obama and his administration, he did not accept the playbook on how to prevent and handle a pandemic. This COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of loved ones. I hope people “REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER.”
The economy was doing well before COVID-19 as a result of things President Obama put in place. It will take a decade to recover what could have been avoided. Low-income individuals and people of color will be more negatively impacted than any group. My hope is that we realized that all races (Black people, Russians, Italians, Asians, Mexicans) of people commit crimes to feed their family even though the media only portrays a “thug” as a Black person. Many times, people are forced into survival mode because of systemic racism, like being mistreated in school and dropping out.
Our political climate is so toxic; everything is political. Being treated as a human being should not be political. Providing leadership during a pandemic should not be political. Providing health care and jobs should not be political. Wearing or not wearing a mask should not be political. “REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER.”
I would be remiss without acknowledging the dedication of the young people who are peacefully protesting and others who are writing letters/emails, joining organizations, making calls and having conversations. I personally need you to know how much I need you RIGHT NOW because like so many, I’m tired of fighting. Thank you for picking up the baton.
I look forward to you and your peers VOTING OUT the current arrogant and “knee on the neck” mentality Board of Supervisors that continues to tell their appointed school board member to vote to keep the names of those who committed treason on OUR schools.
It is an exciting time to be on the side of justice. I consider it an honor to share my two cents worth with you my fellow democrats. Now, let’s get to work! There is much to do before November 3. And whereas, I am tired, I’m determined to lock arms with you and fight until the end.
Remember hate is learned behavior!
Dr. Clara James Scott is a retired school administrator, educational consultant and speaker.