Unlike the sounds from a piano keyboard, the words created by a computer keyboard don’t resonate louder when the keys are depressed with greater force. But, I can sense when a writer is banging the computer keyboard as they write with passion.
My fave, Helen Ubinas of the Philadelphia Inquirer or Philadelphia Daily News (I can never tell who works for whom) writes about the fanatics who are demonstrating across the country because they feel oppressed that their rights are being denied due to coronavirus business shut downs and stay at home orders.
I’m convinced people have no idea how crazy they look marching on city and state capitol buildings openly carrying some of the biggest guns made by man. Or, maybe it just seems crazy to black people because we know if we tried that the results wouldn’t be pretty.
Americans don’t want to stay home, they want to work out more and they need their hair styled. For that, they will bring out a small army to force government to turn your community from red, to yellow, to green – or else.
On the news, I watched the police confront congregants at a church in New Jersey that had service when the governor said it should remain closed. As Professor Ubanis quotes, it went like this…
“Formally, you’re all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe,” a police captain told the crowd outside the (church) before walking away to cheers.
I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked, but that’s just another example of how white cops police white people.
Professor Ubanis says, ‘…it is beyond reprehensible for anyone to frame inconvenience as oppression, and then endanger first responders with these idiotic freedom protests with few masks and even less social distancing.’
So, to help a few folks understand a few things, she’s taking us to school in her piece in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. Professor Ubinas is teaching the course entitled ‘Oppression 101’
In her first lecture, she addresses COVID-specific oppression.
If you really wanted to protest actual oppression during the pandemic, then why not protest the environmental, health, and economic disparities that make people of color more likely to have preexisting conditions? Or more likely to work frontline service jobs where they have a greater chance of contracting the virus and less chance of getting quality health care?
Her second lecture addresses the commonly protested businesses that remain closed that are disturbing so many people. She begins with gyms…
Not being able to get in your 500-pound leg presses at the gym is not government oppression. Voter suppression, and disproportionately being targeted, incarcerated, and killed by law enforcement, is. So is lack of recognition for your marriage or sexuality or gender, or no access to decent and affordable health care and housing and day care and schools.
Professor Ubanis moves on to the other commonly protested closing; the retail stores…
Not being able to shop at Costco or any number of stores without a mask is not corporate oppression. Being paid less than your white male colleagues for working the same damn job is. So is getting denied a loan from a bank, or paying more for insurance because of your race or neighborhood.
In lecture 3, Professor Ubanis addresses the dress code of oppression…
What oppression is not, was not, and never will be is a convenient costume that you can put on and take off in some warped version of cultural appropriation. COVID cosplay, anyone?
In lecture 4, Professor Ubanis highlights what real oppression looks like to a certain group of people…
Just last week, police in Georgia released video of a three-year-old shoplifting arrest of Ahmaud Arbery, a black jogger gunned down in February by a former police officer playing vigilante, as if that would somehow explain being hunted down and killed for the color of your skin. Can you imagine that kind of ingrained, systemic injustice?
In Professor Ubanis’ final lecture, she level sets with her class by reminding them…
We are a lot of things right now. We are annoyed and angry, scared and impatient. But we are not oppressed.
Professor Ubanis introduces the course description for the upcoming ‘Oppression 201’ …
To the new social-justice warriors: You’ve experienced your first small taste — and trust me, it’s a small taste — of what it’s like to feel that society treats you unfairly and sees you as expendable and unworthy. Hold on to that shock, so that when we emerge from this, we can address real oppression.
Helen Ubanis was certainly banging the keyboard with this piece. She’s my favorite!!!