In fact, there are numerous reports of NYPD officers violently enforcing social distancing within certain New York neighborhoods—those that are historically poorer, and, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly Black and brown. In other, higher-income neighborhoods, however, cops have been seen literally handing masks out to those wealthier (and, typically, whiter) inhabitants breaking the same rules. This isn’t only about class.
Still, the wealth gap tells a powerful story. A symptom of America's disregard for its racial history and most vulnerable people, it’s time to start paying attention to the ways in which it manifests.
Race and class: a cruel intertwinement
A 2019 study by the Brookings Institution determined that unlike their white peers, Black children have less upward economic mobility, and are less likely to stay wealthy, even if their parents are.
Christina Brown, a Black woman and grad student from Long Beach currently studying International Relations & Diplomacy in Paris, knows firsthand what it’s like to involuntarily bear the brunt of socioeconomic inequality. “I’ve been affected by instability and precariousness since childhood,” she tells Supermaker in a written interview. “I grew up having to manage instability and uncertainty.”
Like many young Americans, she inherited instability from her parents, who were financially affected by the recession. “Marginalized groups are most definitely at risk [now],” she continues. “The rich, wealthy class has access to testing, to treatment, to supplies, to masks. Everyone else is scrambling for resources, afraid to miss work if they’re sick because they need money.”