06 June 2020

Black Lives vs Flattening the Curve

Today I was proud to participate in a Black Lives Matter protest in Waterford. I kept at least two metres
away from others as much as possible although this wasn't easy despite staying on the periphery. Unfortunately
the two-metre radius was largely ignored by most participants here. I'm very grateful to local police who
carefully shepherded this peaceful protest despite it being officially cancelled.

Much online discussion of these global protests against the shameful behaviour of US police focusses on
how the protests are in violation of lockdown orders in the context of the current coronavirus pandemic.

This perspective is entirely reasonable given what we have seen of overwhelmed hospitals and mass burials.
These protests will very likely delay our recovery and may lead to more avoidable coronavirus deaths.

But the question is : what is more important for the kind of world we want to live in? How long should a
pandemic last? How long should racist violence last? There are two main voices in this debate:

"I think racism is disgraceful, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to get sick. Maybe later?"

"I was worried about getting sick, but I could not stay silent in the face of this injustice. (coughs)."

I picked my side and I'm sticking with it.

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