By Tiffany Stubbs
Have you ever had a call and no matter how many times you answer, you get the same call with the same question?
The question could be from a myriad of things, but what if the inquiry were based on your willingness to bring truth to power? How does one navigate the truth of their lived experience when society dismisses their struggle on multiple levels? How is the church an effective witness to build disciples who have the culture to speak truth to power, even when they call your truth a lie?
Sitting at the intersection of my calling as preacher and a pharmacist, I’ve been struggling to put into words what I have witnessed in terms of gender equity and deliberate suppression of resources for indigenous people and people of color (BIPOC). Although, I’m currently a full-time seminarian navigating through disrupting Christian ethics from the margin while finding my voice, I see the consistent perils of hegemony that plague America.
As I came across the photo above, profoundly speaking truth to power, the words across this image are riveting. “RACISM is a pandemic.” I could hear these words calling me to say something! This call would not let me go. So, yes, racism is a pandemic. It’s viral and like most viruses they don’t respond to the antibiotic treatment that disintegrates bacterial infection. Viruses are twice as contagious and attack any available host.
Once invading the body, there is no specific region to adhere to; viruses can take root at any point of entry. The inherent nature of a virus is to invade one’s system, because viruses can’t survive without a host.
America has been a host to the virus of racism by moving the finish line every time a BIPOC makes great strides just in trying to be seen as valuable part of humanity. Policies, polity and politics are the nuclei for keeping the systemic manifestations of racism alive. As a virus continues to invade, its mission is to take over the whole system, shutting down other areas of the body, strategically attaching itself (virion) to a cell in order to replicate. It awaits the opportunity to latch on to another organism.
This sounds familiar right? Racism like a virus can be passed on through birth and often when it hits one house, all inhabitants are affected, causing a mass spread affecting many details of life. Racism is a pandemic because it puts a constraint on black and brown bodies disallowing them to receive justice and equity in healthcare.
Racism impairs sight and thinking, allowing for black women to have a 37 percent more chance to die at childbirth. Racism makes pseudo-systems of achievement and classifies them as the “achievement gap,” stigmatizing the greatest black and brown minds. Racism runs down every aisle of complicit churches that dismiss the sin of racism. Racism puts African Americans at a higher risk for mortality and morbidity.
Racism is a pandemic and we need a task force to disrupt the sociopolitical agenda to destroy a group of people based on the color of their skin.
Tiffany M. Stubbs is a native of Birmingham, AL. Tiffany is a CBF Leadership Scholar and third-year student at McAfee School of Theology (Mercer University). At McAfee, Tiffany is actively serving on the Diversity Inclusion Committee. Tiffany is humbled to serve in ministry as an ordained elder assisting in pastoral care. She is passionate about her mission and calling to provide strategies of transformation at the intersection of ministry, medicine and missiology. She had the wonderful opportunity to serve as a Student.Goer with CBF in Summer and Fall 2020. Her greatest joy is serving God and others.