Life Matters: Lessons on Discrimination from BLM and COVID-19

Life Matters: Lessons on Discrimination from BLM and COVID-19 September 7, 2020

life matters lessons discrimination blm covid
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Today we are fighting both in the Black Lives Matter movement and through the pandemic, over who will live and who will die. Many are sacrificing themselves to protest against horrible police brutality and the death of young black men. Many are also suffering due to the pandemic, which affects everyone equally, rich, poor, all colors, cultures, nations, and religious faith. It does not discriminate against anyone, or where you catch it.

You could be out protesting, standing up for what is right, or sitting in a place of worship, hoping God will save you, or at a bar or beach, feeling you are immortalany place where people congregate. You put yourself and others at risk if you do not wear a mask, yet there are those who feel it is their religious and political right not to wear a mask. This virus doesn’t care what you believe, who will get mildly sick or who it will kill. It is literally ignorant and at times suicidal not to wear a mask, and is killing others.

As I have written before, I never felt prejudiced. I do not see anyone as less than myself and care only whether they have good character. What people do, God is the judge. I do not see anyone as inferior when it comes to their color or religion, whether man or woman, gay or straight. As I said it is for God to judge, not me.

We all go to our grave the same way. Why do we feel that White is superior, pure and light, while Black or Brown is the opposite? Why do we paint our Gods white?

A Black man attacked me years ago. I forgave him. The reason I forgave him is because what my family did to me was far worse, because they knew me and were supposed to protect me, while this young man knew nothing about me. He could have killed me, and he ruined my artwork, which was far worse than what he did to me. I have met many kind people of all races, and it didn’t matter their color.

I grew up being discriminated against because I had no father.  Even within my own family, they were not accepting, and blamed me for my parents’ sins. There are those who I knew who were really poor and they were badly discriminated against, saying that they were of bad moral character. Bad morals affect all social classes, not just the very poor. Poverty has its own stigma that you never go from the very bottom to the very top, except if you have access to education, which is a door to better opportunities and lifestyles.

People of color cannot walk down the street without being stared at. Being in a mixed marriage myself, I saw how it was looked down upon as morally wrong. Many children are bullied in the schools for being different in their religion or color, even being told to go back where they came from. People of color are even stopped by police for no reason or stopped in airports more than average. Sometimes they are not even served in restaurants where young men or women of different colors are not being served, or told to go elsewhere.

Myself being white, I am privileged in a sense and not rightly so. I have not experienced what my children or the children of others have experienced. The discrimination is happening frequently and can even be deadly.

Those who suffered have felt it from one generation to another and were destroyed culturally. Meanwhile, COVID-19 does not discriminate—rich or poor, Black or White, young or old, and all religions.

You would think this virus that does not discriminate would unite us all together, and that we would all learn something. All of us are dying at a fast rate. One can catch this virus, and you do not know whom it will affect seriously. I thought it would help to make a better society, and we had learned something, and hopefully this lesson has not been lost.

Where is justice? Where is humanity and kindness for other human beings? Why should we feel superior to one another because of our skin tone, nationality, or religion? We all go to our grave the same way. Why do we feel that White is superior, pure and light, while Black or Brown is the opposite? Why do we paint our Gods white?

Many times, those of darker color bleach their skins to look whiter so they can marry and have good jobs. We have a social caste system everywhere due to skin color and wealth. We have destroyed cultures because of those of different beliefs and skin colors, and have enslaved and tortured those who are different than us.

We have not given people of color the same opportunities in jobs, housing, and education. We felt superior to those of different races and religions, and kept them at the bottom of the social ladder, making it difficult to climb up. Those who suffered have felt it from one generation to another and were destroyed culturally. Meanwhile, COVID-19 does not discriminaterich or poor, Black or White, young or old, and all religions.

We go to the grave the same way and face the same God. We are all vulnerable to the same suffering and joys, and pains in life, and we are all going to die one day. The highest form of spiritual life is empathy for one another. Death is the same for all of us, and we all face it with our own conscience. We realize all these things did not matter. What did matter was how we treated each other. We do not want to die alone. All of us one day will see God, who is without color, and who does not judge on nationality, color, or religion. He judges what is in your heart and what you have done for others.

About Stephenie Bushra Khan
Stephenie Bushra Khan is a converted Muslim, a poet, and local artist in Temecula, California. She is originally from Winchendon, Massachusetts. You can read more about the author here.
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