Editor’s note: This article appeared in the New York Amsterdam News on May 7, 2020. The Burning Spear salutes Assemblyman Charles Barron who is a long-standing member of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations.
Black people are dying at higher rates than others during this coronavirus pandemic. In Chicago, 68%-70% of the deaths are Black people. In Louisiana, 70% of the deaths are Black people. In New York City, 62% of the deaths are Black and Brown people, and we believe it’s higher than that. All across the country, Black people are dying at a higher rate than others.
Many attribute our high rate of death to our pre-existing condition of poor health. There is no question that we suffer more than others from high rates of a myriad of illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, hypertension, etc. You name it, we got it!
I am certain that poor health contributes to our death. Yes, we need to have healthier diets and exercise more!
But what’s not talked about is the role that this racist, parasitic, predatory capitalistic system plays in economically exploiting our Black communities and turning them into “domestic colonies” of capitalism. Who created the poverty, unemployment, inadequate health care, miseducation, homelessness, mass incarceration, food shortages and unhealthy food (fast foods), and more? The answer is capitalism and domestic colonialism. Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African Peoples Socialist Party, coined the term “colonial virus.”
We must demand more testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, hospital beds, staffing for our hospitals and much more to deal with the immediate coronavirus crisis.
However, going forward, we must fight for the radical systemic dismantling of this capitalist system that’s been exploiting us since the beginning of slavery.
We are dying, Black people and we must get to the root of our problem!