By Charlie Amáyá Scott
This video is meant to use the humor of the toxicity leaving your body trend to call out the inadequate or lack of response to COVID-19 at the beginning of 2020 and to highlight the global impact of this pandemic on Black, Indigeous Peoples, and People of Color (BIPOC).
On January 22, 2020, the President of—what is now known as—the United States said that they have COVID-19 under control. Yet, as the numbers of confirmed cases and COVID-19 related deaths rise nationally each day, it became quite clear that the US does not have this virus “under control.”
With the news announcing the rising numbers, I became more concerned and hoped that BIPOC would not be greatly affected, but oppressive systems, such as race, class, and colonialism said otherwise. Black and Brown Indigenous Peoples were disproportionately suffering, experiencing under-reporting, and were not given access to COVID-19 Testing Kits.
Within the Navajo Nation, my own homelands, the numbers have been rising each day, with confirmed cases reaching over 1,100 on April 18, 2020 and 44 confirmed deaths. In other parts of—what is now known as—the US, Black communities// African Americans make up about 30% of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with Black New Yorkers dying at twice the rate of white individuals.
Widespread discrimination, medical racism, inadequate access to healtcare and other basic living necessities are all contributing factors to the increase number of COVID-19 among Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color. All of which originates because of colonizing oppressive systems that continue to exploit resources from Black and Brown Indigenous Peoples within the US.
This pandemic could have been prevented or even minimized, yet it was not.
Charlie A. Scott (Diné) is a non-binary Indigenous femme who is a doctoral student at the University of Denver studying higher education.