By: Dr. Samori Swygert
I was thinking about the monumental injustices in the trials of Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman. I kept swirling around how the method of transmission of racism is like a disease, and I honed in on comparing the characteristics of HIV and racism. I just want to share what I thought.
Let’s get started
First, there is still debate of where and when racism actually was discovered. Who was the first person to be infected and transmit it to others? You can go to other countries and see racism that exists between other ethnic groups (not just a black/white thing). However, in America, racism like HIV reveals blacks suffer the most from its pervasiveness. You can consult the CDC for those statistics. Then ask, “how many times have you heard white Americans claim they have been discriminated against by blacks for food, housing, politics, transportation, education, and jobs?”
As a weapon
I also thought about how some people infected with HIV use it as a weapon to hurt other individuals because of what happened to them or just out of shear malice and evil. How many people use their racist ideologies to hurt and harm others?
Racism mimics HIV because you can’t tell if a person is HIV positive or a racist just by looking at them. Yes, looks can be deceiving. The most beautiful girl or handsome man can be HIV positive, and the most inviting, nonthreatening, warm smiling person can be a racist.
On social class
HIV and Racism don’t discriminate on socioeconomic class. Your most famous superstars can be HIV positive and may also be a racist. The veneer of glamour and fame don’t reveal the heart of people. A poor person can also be racist, and/or HIV positive.
$exual preference has nothing to do with you being racist. Just like there are heterosexual racists, there are also homosexual racists. Many people try to embrace this slogan of “Gay is the new black”, but this preference and desires has nothing at all to do with racial and ethnic hatred. $exuality and race are not bound at the hip, even Siamese twins have different ideologies. This preference also has nothing to do with HIV, if you are having unprotected sex as a heterosexual or homosexual, you are putting yourself at risk of infection, point blank, period!
HIV infected women that are pregnant can infect their child with HIV. Think about how parents, elders, and relatives can transmit and implant racist philosophies into impressionable children. Babies and children are innocent, and will play together regardless of skin tone, but adults introduce, infect, and encode the racism into their psyche.
Racism and HIV definitely mirror each other on the following perspective. Many people live in denial of its presence yet people are killed by it every day. Moreover, when you look at racism and HIV, they are both responsible for the death of millions on a global level.
On knowing your status
Many people don’t even know they are infected. Many people lie and say they are not infected. People are scared or uncomfortably engaging in dialogue and discourse about it. Many individuals are ashamed and embarrassed when publicly exposed that they are a racist or HIV positive because of the stigma associated with it.
On generational understanding
Younger generations don’t really have an in-depth understanding of what they both are, or shall I say, they may not understand the full implications and historical significance of both HIV and racism. Conversely, many young individuals are learning more about both now because many are becoming victimized by both.
On its adaptability and progression
Racism, like HIV, can mutate, and the mutation can lead to a more virulent strain that spreads faster throughout the body and demolishes the immune system. Racism can mutate, infest, and corrupt other systems just like the human body. Racism used to be bold, ostentatious, flamboyant, and socially flagrant. There used to be public lynching, castration, flogging, burning, branding, and a wide variety of public insults. People fought against it and now it has mutated into a more subtle, stealth, and deadly strain. Racism like a virulent HIV strain has corrupted the judicial system, legislative bodies, educational system, economic system, job market, entertainment industry, healthcare and military. The same way an HIV patient may become severely affected, America is walking around with FULL BLOWN RACISM.
Many people refuse to examine themselves to see if they are hoarding racist ideologies within, and this is similar to people who refuse to get tested for STDs. Do you take time out of your life to evaluate if you prejudged someone, denied or granted somebody an opportunity because of skin color alone, harmed or helped someone just because of skin color? The same way we regularly get tested for HIV, we should also evaluate our own behavior and thoughts for racist beliefs and actions.
There is big money in both the battle against HIV and racism. Pharmaceutical companies and social agencies make revenue and gain funding to fight HIV. Media personalities, authors, Hollywood, and career activists get subsidized and paid very lucrative salaries to throw their hat in the ring to fight against racism.
Lastly, there is no known cure for either of the two. We have treatment options for HIV and strategies to mitigate racism. The same way we devote national attention and funding to cure HIV, we should have national debate and dialogue to try to solve racism. Until we find a cure for racism and HIV, I say protect yourself at all times. To my brothers and sisters afflicted with HIV, I apologize if I may have offended you in anyway, I promise that I have no malicious intent behind this. I know none of you asked, or wanted to become infected, and my prayers are with you.
What are your thoughts??