This week police brutality and the Coronavirus were on your minds. We share your responses for “The Blue Plague and the Black Death.”
In “The Blue Plague and the Black Death” Glen Ford compares the nation’s long history of racist police brutality to the new illness sweeping the nation.
Reg Callaway writes:
“What is not always understood in the US space is how its policies affect the global community. When the US does something it generally has implications on a global scale and always in a bad way. US exports are in the form of deadly products and services.
“Take Trump's misguided acknowledgment in taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against the COVID-19 virus as an example. Desperate people around the world began to seek out the drug because they relied on Trump's ‘advice.’ Untold numbers suffered serious life-threatening health issues as a result.
“The impact of the ‘Blue Plague’ as Glen Ford outlines also has a way of infecting other countries because the US does it. There seems to be no quarantining of the thinking. In fact, colonizers demand societal infection of heavy-handed policing on a large scale against its communities of color without mentioning them by name. Overseas police forces have taken note of US police practices in addressing the Black community. Practices that are enshrined into supposed race-neutral law, such as ‘qualified immunity,’ which white settlers are mostly immune from.
“To tackle the ‘dark skin’ menace foreign police departments are deceptively describing their own responses to conflicts as inadequate and demand more deadly firepower to neutralize the ‘gang’ threats. ‘To keep the public safe, we need militarized hardware to deal with the threats,’ they say. They use worn-out dog-whistle language to instill fear in the hearts of colonizers to get their approval while ignoring historical race and class warfare. The ‘dark skin’ population has no say nor power to change minds or outcomes.
“Colonized communities of color are very aware of US police practices towards the Black community and condemn local efforts to beef up police powers. They know the only outcome is more dead bodies.
“Ending the hyper militarism against the African-American community is vital to saving the lives of people of color in colonized countries.”
Divya Nair writes:
“It certainly seems to be a case of the Blue Plague, which infects in the guise of being the cure but as you say, Glen, it is the same old disease of white violence. The psychology behind the pathologization of Co-Vid 19, not to mention the world-encircling ambitions of the Western health administration (made up of organizations such as the WHO and CDC and others) is driven by the same naked ambition to expand white supremacy in the world by criminalizing black skin, in turn.
“Gandhi said that more people die of the fear of the disease than the disease itself. And in this case the disease is hatred, which is in truth a denial of one’s own humanity, which may be simply defined as one’s truest self. I am kindled anew by James Baldwin’s wisdom, that love is a state of grace, a duty of such urgency that the guises and disguises that constrain man‘s character suddenly slip off. It is important to remember that we must use the word ‘love,’ Baldwin says, ‘not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace,’ which he deems an ‘infantile American sense of being made happy.’ When this happens, the fear that formerly paralyzed you from going forth into the world with confidence suddenly loosens like an old cough so that we may sing in our fullest voice. It is only then that we begin to love ourselves in the fullest way, that is, as God intended us to be loved. In Baldwin’s words, ‘Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.’
The white community, Baldwin reminds us, cannot come clean to itself, that is to admit to themselves that as a social group, they have hitherto remained hypocrites unable to reach a state of grace. Thus, like Eleanor Rigby, they cannot cannot leave the house, so to speak, without the ‘face that they keep in the jar by the door.’ It is true that we all—not matter what our skin color is—must ultimately strive for the best. But what is it that we mean when we say we ought to ‘reopen the economy’ or go ‘back to normal?’ The oppression of African-Americans is the norm in America and American imperialism is the ‘norm’ that has destroyed us all. As a corrective to this social dilemma of the color line, Baldwin proposes that we embrace a more honest conception of love, not in a sentimental or self-destructive sense, ‘but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.’ It seems to me that this is the only antidote to all of our present ailments of mind, body, heart, and soul.”
As we see both plagues get out of control, we will have to think of new ways to remake this never healthy society.
Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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