White People Won't Save You

Illustration for article titled White People Won't Save You
Screenshot: CNN

There are tens of thousands of Americans—nurses and uncles; bus drivers and doctors; aunties and baristas; grad students and my friend—who were killed by COVID-19 because they just weren’t able to escape it. Perhaps their occupation was high-risk. Perhaps they were unable to effectively social distance. Perhaps they had underlying—and white supremacy-induced—medical conditions that made contraction of this virus fatal. Perhaps they just didn’t realize how sick they actually were until it was too late.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who died this morning—weeks after reportedly falling ill after attending a Trump rally in Tulsa—had no such excuse. He should’ve known. He could’ve prevented his death. He could’ve saved himself. He could’ve saved others. But he died how he lived—tragically, stupidly, and clutching onto an anchor of white supremacy, hoping it would save him from drowning, not realizing it had bound his arms too.

It is unfortunate that he is dead. My thoughts and my prayers today, however, are for the people he might have also infected; who might be sick today and dead tomorrow because a 74-year-old Black man still wished to be white.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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Mr Boomman

Death isn’t cool generally speaking. But I’m sorry, my give a damn has been busted. He was too old to know better yet still wanted to Ruckus it out. My neighborhood uncle used to say “Everybody has their time to die. But you dumb young muthafuckas can also rush your own death by being stupid.” Obviously this doesn’t just apply to youth. And truer words have never been spoken by a functional crackhead (he proudly admitted to smoking it from time to time citing “a grown man don’t have to hide shit”).