Historic Reasons Black People Must Reject The Joke of Being Immune To Covid19.

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Continued misconceptions and beliefs about black people, their bodies, features and strength continue to be the biggest threat to their survival as a people. We are simply humans with same needs just as every one else. We are not mystical, we are not less or more than everyone else. We just like any other humanbeing deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and with attention to our desired needs at all times.

Faustina Anyanwu – C. Hub magazine.

Although there’s not been an exponential spread of the covid19 virus in African countries and predominantly black countries as well as having a low count of blacks confirmed to have caught the virus. It is essential to quickly and firmly debunk the narrative that Blacks are immune to the coronavirus, covid19.

Coronavirus is having a worldwide impact and has no favourites or respect for creed, race, religion or political leaning. It is such an unwise thing to try to make a joke of the pandemic or try to pin the virus spread to a particular set of people. There have been records of confirmed cases in African and Caribbean countries as well as among Blacks in the diaspora. Unfortunately, even after having evidence of confirmed black people cases of testing positive to the virus, people have continued to make these memes which could cause such an expensive outcome for Black households.

Also, continuing to make these jokes makes a mockery of the sufferings of folks who have died or are still going through the agony of this virus pandemic. As much as these jokes may seem lighthearted and harmless, it is at the least destructive and deceitful, as this may lead to folks acting nonchalant in the face of impending danger. I’m mostly worried and concerned with the potentially devastating effect this could cause in Nigeria, where, I know people tend to use jokes to keep sane in navigating their daily challenges thus causing even more harm. It is evident that the average Nigerian is dismissive albeit more in denial in the face of danger until it ‘reaches home to roast’.

This sort of belief has historically as well as currently cost Blacks so much more both at home and in the diaspora. Whether holding these beliefs are our coping mechanism, denial or real belief, it is important for every black to discourage these beliefs and jokes.

In America during the yellow fever outbreak of the 18th century for instance, due to mistaken and long-held belief that Blacks were immune to disease, a belief held by doctor Benjamin Rush who wrote an open letter in the newspaper, under the pseudonym of a well-known Quaker who helped educate blacks, and appealed to blacks to aid others in the city during the epidemic. The request was readily accepted by the members of the Free African Society (FAS) because of this wrong assumption that native Africans would have immunity to this new disease. 

The leaders. Allen and Jones together with other members served both black and white residents as nurses and aides during those terrible months.   Black nurses aided the sick and the group’s leaders hired additional men to take away corpses, which most people would not touch. Unfortunately, a total of 240 blacks died, in proportion to their population at the same rate as whites.

Medical theories and misconceptions about black immunity have persisted beyond the Philadelphia yellow fever outbreak and have transcended generations to an extent blacks themselves have come to assimilate and accept these narratives which threaten their own existence.

These beliefs have also transcended into various other areas of life. Trying to attribute African people’s climate or their physical features as mystical powers to protect them from certain diseases and or pain, without any scientific evidence remains a threat to the wellbeing of every single black person whether in African or any other place on the planet. Seemingly leaving Blacks hunted all over the world.

For the avoidance of terming this a conspiracy, here are a few more historic reasons why as blacks we must do everything possible to dispel these beliefs and protect ourselves at all time:

Throughout the 18th century, medical professionals continued the spread of false claims such as Black skin is thicker and stronger and thus making black less susceptible to pain and suffering. This idea emboldened  Dr. James Marion Sims to perform his medical experiments on black women in his quest to perfect procedures for fixing incontinence and reproductive problems.

Till date, the maternal mortality rate amongst black women continue to be on the rise and unresearched – and we continue to receive reports of black women being neglected during labour with the belief that their pain was being exaggerated – as was the case when Tennis Champion, Serena Williams had her baby, Alexis. She reportedly complained of having been ignored when she complained of pain, even with her medical history, personnel shrugged off her pain. 

This belief has not only cost black people dearly health-wise but also has been used politically and economically to cheat and oppress black people. It was this idea that was used as an excuse for enslaving black people and putting them under harsh treatments as they’re more suited for chattel labour because of their physical features and thick skin. The belief that black people are nothing both humans is something that must be fought and cleared from the minds of every single black person as a survival necessity. 

It’s this erroneous thinking that a black person is less of a human that other races, that makes it so easy for a police officer to manhandle and even shot a black person for just breathing. This is why it’s easy for a media to neglect the basic human dignity and right to privacy in their prostitution of and profiteering from black people’s pain and suffering.

Throughout this coronavirus epidemic, I’ve not seen one single footage or image of a white person at the point of death or in the most vulnerable position or seen anywhere their human dignity has been compromised. Even in death, a white body is given its respect while a black person in their vulnerable situations is paraded all over the media whether in death or alive. If you haven’t taken note of how western charities plater pictures of African children in the most compromising situation all over the media for donations, then you’re not paying attention enough. And this really should be all of our concerns – how a single black person is portrayed matters and is relative to how you and I are treated in a different situation. 

African media and leaders must now do everything possible to discourage all these mental slavery by re-educating the masses – teaching their citizens the importance of their human dignity, why and how they must be respected and why we need to stand up to how we are portrayed as a people. Our survival depends on how far we can go to dispel these harmful beliefs.

Faustina Anyanwu
Faustina Anyanwu
Faustina Anyanwu is a features writer focusing on people's stories, entrepreneurship, start-ups, social media marketing, and profiling. Follow her on Twitter - @fauntee Official Website: www.faunteebon.com Mantra: Real Women Think Legacy.