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“I want to stay alive, but I also want to stay alive.”

I’ve mentioned in this forum that I recognize the cultural biases I have that stem from growing up in an all-white small town and having very little exposure to people from different cultures and races as a kid. If you add in all the Westerns and “cops and robbers” movies I watched, it stands to reason that anyone wearing a mask outside of a hospital or doctor’s office must be up to no good. 

Today, however, seeing people walk around with scarves, bandannas, homemade masks, and other facial coverings is not only becoming common, but encouraged. 

So ask yourself: What do you feel when you see a person with a bandanna wrapped around their face?  Is it different for people of color? 

I never gave it any thought until I read this:



1 comment

I have the opposite experience, living in a bay-area feeder community that today would be called "diverse" but at the time went by many other names with only negative connotations. The school dress code specifically forbade bandanas from being worn in any fashion, even as wristbands or hanging out of pockets, just like the article mentions. The other disparities mentioned in the article were facts of daily life. The tweet from Aaron Thomas and the quotes from Che Johnson-Long break my heart because of how true they are even in the "best" of times.

With the encouragement to wear masks, many of my caucasian friends are posting selfies with homemade masks. Bandanas, burning man costumes, halloween masks, everything seems to be fair game. Personally I think it's hilarious and great. None of my friends of color are doing this, and the reason is obvious. The opportunity for shared experience is shattered by the fact that engaging in this behavior has very different consequences for different people.

So what do I feel when I see a person with a bandana on their face? I'm skeptical no matter what. But that has more to do with growing up in a gang community than anything else. 

Is it different for people of color? Absolutely. Because I personally wouldn't have to worry about what others think if I wrap a black bandana across my face and called it PPE. But my friends and neighbors don't have that luxury. They would be afraid, like the people in the article, and I'm not okay with that. 


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