Damon Young
Damon Young. Photo by Sarah Huny Young.

“I do not know what is happening in America right now,” writes Pittsburgher and author Damon Young in a piece in Time magazine. “The velocity of the collective national willingness to acknowledge anti-Black racism has been unsettling. Eerie. What feeling other than a deep and paralyzing disorientation are we supposed to possess when NASCAR (NASCAR!) decides to ban the Confederate flag from its stadiums? (My first thought when hearing about that? ‘Well, I guess there must be two NASCARs.’) But while the what remains cloudy, the why–why this is happening right now–is more clear.”

What’s different now? asks the author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker?”

“What has changed each of our lives, forever; why people around the world are in the streets–is COVID-19. We are currently in a global pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans, and our death rates don’t appear to be dropping as much as other countries’ have. And the abject mismanagement of our national response to this virus is largely due to white supremacy.”

He goes on to say it’s why a destructive, petty, ignorant and criminally unfit man is our President. “White supremacy is how a belief in science has somehow become a partisan issue. Lunacy-inducing white supremacy accounts for the absurd theater of American men and women threatening and terrifying baristas while angrily refusing to don masks, because of some nebulous concept of ‘freedom.’

“What COVID’s devastation–and the bizarre response to it in some pockets of America–has done is make the tracks and tentacles of white supremacy less concealable and spinnable and more plain. We’re essentially in the midst of two pandemics, and it seems as if white people are seeing, finally, that white supremacy kills them too. We (humans) are incentive-based beings, and there’s no greater incentive than remaining alive.”

Read the piece in full here.

NEXT staff

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.