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Black and White: The power of one and the fragility of the other


The colors black and white have been revolutionary partners in shaping the world we live in today. We generalize people as black or white; or somewhere in between for social and class purposes, beyond the thought of biology.

The contrast between the two set the tone for each day we live; from the time we wake until it is time to go back to sleep. Closing your eyes creates a darkness that is sometimes feared by the smallest children and a place of solace for those who are cognitive of their metaphysical being.

When it’s time to make things clear, we tend to say something like, “Give it to me in black and white.” Contrast is something strikingly different in detail. While we act on instinct to the sight of black, or white, we hinder our realities to what is perceived as good for you and the opposite of that notion.

Image by Jean Marc Denis
BLACK II by Jean-Marc Denis

Black Power has been an uplifting premise for black people in America, but has been combated by the falsehood of white supremacy, or rather, the reality of white fragility.

A fragility that is evident in the weaponizing of police against black people when the truth is exposed to a non-black person’s insecurities. Insecurities that can be seen in many facets of living, more noticeable as a black person and denied by white counterparts.

As a single human race, we are forced by a learned oppressive behavior to recognize each other to the degree of the melanin pigment in our skin. It has divided us throughout generations and has infected all of us regardless of our being.

To think one is better because of the lack of melanin, rather, it is a deficiency within and a recessive gene among humans to lack melanin. Our children have proven that time and time again.

Black Skin Around The World

We read and write in that same contrast making letters on paper more legible, like this essay. Black and white have separated the people of countries like South Africa and The United States, not to mention the world.

Before color television, we adored the black and white era – the shades of grey on our screens. Black and white are simple attributes but have been undermined as what has caused our revolutions in history, and affected many areas of our everyday life.

Ethnicity and the differences among us, have been separators of our varying cultures but have been oppressive manufacturers for those who bare darker skin worldwide. By the color of our skin, we somewhat are still going through a segregated period and are in constant re-construction.

But the reasoning behind this was as simple as one ethnicity represented good and the same people that considered their skin color ‘white’ and good, were the same people to deem black, or darker-skinned people to be of some sort of evil and not considered equal.

Considered inadequate, historically relating those of black skin to non-human mammals, and treated as such throughout the history of the slave trade from Africa to the Americas.

If we address apartheid or segregation…

Read the rest of this article on PAGE magazine.

Photo by Cassell Ferere

Here’s why Covid isn’t hitting the same for communities of color

The Coronavirus might be affecting us all in one way or another, but it seems to be extra dangerous for people of color.

This might not come as a surprise for those of us who are aware of the societal structures that are unable or unwilling to protect those most vulnerable.

But there’s more to consider than just how the virus seems to magically inflict more proportional damage on Black and Latino populations.

Disproportionate deaths

In NYC, Blacks and Latinos are twice as likely than whites to die from the virus. According to the NYC department of health as of April 6, Hispanic/Latino populations are experiencing a 34% death rate while only being 29% of the population. Black people have 28% of the death rate but are only 22% of the population.

According to the NYTimes, racial disparities in other states and cities are even worse. When asked about racial disparities and data collection, the White House stated it had not yet begun collecting racial data. The Human Rights Campaign reported that Black communities account for 35% of confirmed cases, 40% of deaths with only 14% of the state population.

The Associated Press also reported that Native American communities have also been hard hit. New Mexico has a Native American population of 11% but Native Americans account for about 37% of the state’s Coronavirus cases.

Mayor De Blasio responded to these numbers with the clear understanding that the underlying issues have long existed. “There are clear inequalities, clear disparities in how this disease is affecting the people of our city,” Mr. De Blasio said.

“The truth is that in so many ways the negative effects of coronavirus — the pain it’s causing, the death it’s causing — tracks with other profound health care disparities that we have seen for years and decades.”

The “Underlying Medical Conditions” argument

The underlying medical conditions argument is a half-truth created to brush over the bigger question of why the Black community suffers from more medical issues. Some may point to food and lifestyle, an argument that essentially blames POC for being responsible for their own health.

This argument conveniently ignores the fact that POCs are more likely to have to live in areas with high pollution, for example, the Bronx, and more likely to live in areas labeled “food deserts” where affordable healthy food is scarce or non-existent.

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These contextual facts make it clear that diabetes, asthma, and heart disease can be easily linked to access to healthy environments. The attempt to make a “genetic” argument is laughable when considering also that POCs simply do not have access to health care.

Time and again we hear of new data on how people of color are disproportionately affected by diseases in large part due to human bias and lack of access. Black mothers continue to die disproportionally in comparison to white mothers during childbirth.

Black patients and other patients of color are often not believed when they report pain, and actual medical material has been taught stating that people of color can handle higher levels of pain and exaggerate pain levels as well.


This is backed up by the countless stories of people of color being sent home with or without a coronavirus test after experiencing symptoms only to be back at the hospital on a ventilator or dying at home days later.

Access to Treatment

We knew that COVID was on its way to the US, months before it actually started affecting our side of the world. Besides the fact that it was ignored and belittled for months by the Trump administration, our healthcare system is devastatingly difficult to navigate.

And for those with limited economic and financial opportunities, dealing with the healthcare system in any way, especially in the most important ways is just another shackle of debt and poverty.

Health care is expensive; we know this. But also, adequate and affordable healthcare is rarely offered by employers of the working class. A large portion of minority populations are working-class therefore healthcare is out of reach for many people of color.

POC Essential Workers’ lives are just valued less

Furthermore, while employment loss is at devastating levels, many of the essential jobs that still are in effect are held in large part by minority populations.

Bus drivers, transit and delivery workers, supermarket workers, and sanitation workers are all exposed to potentially contracting the virus every day.

Essential Worker GIFs | Tenor

Even cleaning service employees in literal hospitals have been reporting discrimination in the workplace. Where Black and Latino employees are instructed to clean Coronavirus exposed rooms and their white coworkers are allowed to reject the task.

Essential workers are consistently told to work without any protection from the virus. And they’re paid so little to keep our society functioning.

What’s more, is that people of color often live in multi-generational homes. This means that there are far more people living in one space making it hard to self-isolate.

How are you going to isolate yourself after a dangerous essential worker shift, when you live in a one or two-bedroom with five or six other family members?

Inmates are at higher risk for Coronavirus

Another facet of this is the underserved prison population.

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With known and documented racial disparities under the US Criminal Justice System, inmates are at a dangerously high risk of contracting the Coronavirus.

According to an NPR report, 73% of inmates at an Ohio Prison tested positive for COVID-19. Outbreaks are sweeping across prisons in America despite some efforts at compassionate or early-release for non-violent offenders.

Prison workers are also subsequently at higher risk. And of course, workers at correctional facilities are also essential workers. Infrastructure, the health care system, and the economic system and justice system along with local and federal governments, in general, continue to fail people of color again and again.

We saw it with Hurricane Katrina, and we’re seeing it again now. The question is when will it finally be acknowledged and more importantly changed.

Why Gen-Z political activism could be our last hope to save the world

Gen-Z has been emerging and growing into a generation of political activists for collective issues in the U.S. and the world. The Climate Change debate is heightened with the introduction of young people’s protests.

Greta Thunberg recently addressed United Nations leaders with a no-nonsense speech chastising them for doing little to nothing to avoid environmental disaster.

What makes Gen-Z activists like Thunberg so powerful? Could this be our last hope as a country? A species? A planet?

The Later half of Millennials started the ‘woke’ movement and Gen Zers rose the f*ck up.

Remember the beginning of the “woke” movement? BLM did much of the heavy lifting to bring wokeness to mass consciousness. Becoming woke was and is to promote political and social justice knowledge.

So the early 2010s when later millennials were becoming adults really made it possible for younger teens and kids in Gen-Z to come into their own understanding of what it means to be woke, and later what to do with it.

Why does Gen-Z care?

Gen-Z will bear the brunt of climate change, and deal with all the BS. Earth is cooked in so many ways. And young people know this and know they’ll have to deal with the worst of it.

Gen-Z knows that gun violence in the U.S. affects them specifically and they’ve been through shootings again and again. The answers are simple.

White Gen-Zers are more willing to explore and understand racial politics and issues, in part because POC Gen-Z have the ability to be more vocal through social media.

Gen-Zers use all their resources

Armed with access to woke materials, social media and technology they’re the best equipped to take a stand and make shit happen.

They’ve got their own peers to emulate, like Greta Thunberg, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg. Plus they’ve got a few millennials here and there to look up to, AOC, BLM founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi.

Gen-Z has a lot going for them and they’re smart enough to use it to secure a future worth living for all of us. So how will you help? There are 10,080 minutes in a week, surely some of those are worth spending on fighting for what you believe in.

March for change: Here are three organizations protesting the right way

As I rushed through Grand Central’s main hall yesterday to catch a 5:50 train out of the city, I stumbled right into a protest. It was a modest gathering. Predominantly white members of the Trump opposition group Rise and Resist raised signs labeled “Abolish I.C.E.” and “Close the Camps,” amongst other slogans.

But, among the small crowd, I was struck by the sight of a child brandishing a poster that read “No Kids in Cages.”

According to the ACLU, there are at least 2,654 such children who have been separated from their families at the border as a result of the Trump administration’s policies. Around 416 of these were girls under 10; some of the children who are detained are as young as 5.

Immigrant children are also detained by the thousands in Homestead centers. Several presidential candidates visited one such center, before the first debate in Miami, though they were not granted entry.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) runs a network of these facilities, with about 170 operating nationally. And Trump wants to open more– and recently defended “beautifully run” detention centers, contrary to various reports of overcrowding and human rights abuses.

Seeing a child in the protest instantly had an impact on me. And for a venue like Grand Central, where people are hurrying to make their trains home (and, in this case, encouraged to keep walking by the couple of police officers nearby), one moment to make a statement is all the protest group might have. Rise and Resist made it count.

The most influential protest groups have to not only make small moments count but also keep the momentum going even after a protest or a march has concluded.

Here are some organizations that have been the most successful at rallying people to their cause, and sustaining their movement.

1. #BlackLivesMatter


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Founded in 2013, in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin, the group’s platform exploded following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. By the way, prosecutors ultimately declined to charge Darren Wilson, the officer in question, setting off another wave of protests.

The protests in Ferguson, during which BLM emerged as a symbol of the movement, sparked national conversations on race, the criminal justice system, and police brutality.

Since then, the group has created networks across the country and now has a global reach. Of course, BLM has also prompted people to idiotically proclaim “#AllLivesMatter,” and to claim that those who kneel during the national anthem– inspired by the BLM movement are un-American.

BLM rallies around names– Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray– and protests non-violently (though the protests in Ferguson turned violent, thanks in no small part to the military equipment used by the National Guard).

Founded by three women, BLM’s inclusivity and skilled deployment of social media have changed the world.

2. Women’s Marches

The day after Trump’s inauguration, more than four million Americans took to the streets across the country, and over 600 marches took place worldwide. The event, which attracted numerous celebrities and future presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, was the largest single-day protest in American history.

But like much of the mainstream feminist movement, the Women’s March has been overly focused on white women– 53 percent of whom voted for Trump. (For reference, 94 percent of black women voted for Hillary.) And accusations of antisemitism on the part of the organizers threatened to derail this year’s march entirely.

The Baton Rouge chapter of the National Organization for Women, for instance, canceled the 2019 New Orleans march due to the controversy surrounding Women’s March, Inc.

The Women’s March stirs up complex feelings. One author argues, the word “intersectionality” made its first major appearance in mainstream news outlets following the 2017 march.

One Vox article was even titled, “To understand the Women’s March on Washington, you need to understand intersectional feminism.” A black author explains her mixed feelings stirred up by the march– and why she sat out the event entirely.

Ultimately, to keep up the movement’s massive energy, the Women’s March has to embrace the multi-faceted identities of its members.

3. March For Our Lives


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Organized by the high-school survivors of the Parkland mass shooting, with the help of gun-control advocacy group Everytown, the massive event took place in D.C. on March 2018.

Marches took place simultaneously across the country, with Mayor Bill de Blasio reporting over 150,000 marchers in New York. But their choice of the main venue was intentional, symbolizing their fight for stricter gun legislation in the capital. The goals of the march were also explicitly listed on a petition on the event’s website.

The cause also attracted a wide roster of celebrities– even Selena Gomez, who infamously proclaimed she didn’t “take sides” when asked on Twitter if she supported the BLM movement.

Like with BLM, March for Our Lives also sparked counter-protests, with a “gun rights” rally in Boston drawing hundreds of supporters.

Still, the overall massive success of the event demonstrates the power that anyone– even high-school students totally inexperienced in events organizing– has to effect change.