The medical report about who is dying from COVID-19 is not new information and not surprising for many. Why did it take the virus’ arrival to bring it to the forefront again? I was struck by the number of people who appeared to be shocked — even those in the medical and social services fields.

This fact that Blacks are disproportionately affected by diseases like diabetes, heart problems, obesity, kidney and respiratory illnesses has been being known and discussed for many years. When this is the case, the immune system has too much to fight off when COVID-19 attacks the body and that is too much for the system to handle.

There is a seven-hour documentary titled “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” that includes all the research concerning why this is true as well as how to reduce the trend. Many people have been asking for years how is it that they are still rising. Blacks are still rising because they are “shadowed beneath God’s hand.”

To keep my mental state balanced I sometimes allow my mind to go to humorous or ironical writings.

In the play “Purlie Victorious” that I staged some years ago, Ole Captain Cotchipee was a slave owner on a plantation. His only son had been away in school and realized that his dad’s treatment of the slaves was not godly right. He tried to right things by speaking to his dad about the inhumane treatment that he saw.

After returning fom school in Paris, the son was given the position as manager of the commissary/general store, which involved selling meats and other goods to slaves and the people in the broader community. One day, the son approached his dad and said “Dad, most of the meat in the store is rotten, and I can not sell it anymore because people are complaining.” The father turned to the son and said, “Well all right, just sell it to the Negroes.”

This hit the son in a soft spot because he believed that slaves were “shadowed beneath God’s hand,” and for once he turned to his dad and said “Daddy, one day these slaves are going to get tired of how you are treating them and they are going to rear up on their hind legs and say ‘all right, white folks, now this is enough.’”

The dad was not accustomed to hearing this kind of talk from his only son or from anyone. He said, with sadness in his voice, “Son, that is one thing that my dad taught me, to treat the slaves with respect. ... On his dying bed, my dad said, looking me straight in the eye, ‘Son, I want you to promise me one thing. Promise me that you will always feed the slaves after the pigs, horses and the cows.’ And I have done that ever since.”

It is sad to say, but old Captain Cotchipee represents the America that many blacks have known. Equally sad is that too many blacks and whites have gotten used to that and many cannot recognize it for what it is.

You see the fight against the Affordable Care Act and the claim is that it is unconstitutional when we know full well ... they fight against the ACA because they fear that it is going to help some jobless marginalized individual live a little longer.

This may not be true of Gov. Brian Kemp and a few others, but the leadership of this country does not feel that it is necessary to crush the coronavirus. Once the results came out revealing that more blacks were dying from the virus, there is a group who now says that testing is not necessary.

Once it was discovered that more lower level workers are of the black and brown hue, and therefore will be the ones who die, why bother with the expensive testing? Out of the trillions of dollars given for boosting the economy, how many local minority businesses got sufficient funds to pay the employees and to be prepared to open back up after the “all clear” sign is given?

COVID-19 is not going to eliminate blacks from the country or even the world, for that matter, because that is not God’s plan for the race. The path that blacks have traveled has been stony from the day that they were brought to this country. Blacks will continue to gather hope and faith from the dark past. All of America should have learned a lesson from our dark past because it is America’s dark past.

Blacks have been introduced to the Ole Captain Cotchipee mentality for 400 years, but as the songwriter penned, “We are standing together shadowed beneath God’s hand, may we forever stand true to our God.” We are all in this together.

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright and a director in Rome. She is the founder and director of the African American Connection of the Performing Arts Inc. and a 2020 Heart of the Community Award of Honor recipient.

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