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  • Marquez Woods

Coronavirus Is Our Blinding Radioactive Waste

Marquez T Woods Jun 24th, 2020

Three months ago I was frustrated by the state of the world. Quarantine stagnated me and filled me with misplaced anger.

Still, I didn’t storm city hall with an assault rifle or fight Walmart staff to protest the new rules. I’m looking at you, Karen & Karl.

My defiance was only perceptual. I chose not to acknowledge the altruism of sacrificing freedom in quarantine.

I detailed my quarantine feels in my journal.

Like Lithium to the personality, it’s cropping the composition of my world. It’s masking sunlight’s kiss, dampening deep breaths meant to be fresh and voiding life of all color.

I made the situation the enemy. I cursed the scientists. I cursed the bat soup. I cursed patient zero.

Sitting by myself in my anger gave me a chance to think. I knew the freedom that we all lost, but what had we gained?

Advertisers tried their best to soothe the country's pain points. You could watch any form of media and see a corporation make a feel-good moment out of the little things.

The problem was, there was a very small pool of little things. It was either home happiness, zoom faux-pas or “We stand with you” PR forehead kisses. Each of which overlaid with what seemed to be the exact same piano melody.

I got frustrated with that too. But then I thought about it in terms of one of my favorite Super Heroes, Daredevil.

Daredevil’s superpower was one of sacrifice and awareness. Matt Murdock was blinded by radioactive waste as a child. In that visual silence, his other senses were heightened and he became hyper-aware.

In that tragedy, he became superhuman.

Over the past few weeks, we have become undeniably more in tune with the world. We have had fewer intimate distractions and our attention has turned to our vast assortments of screens displaying global news.

The altruism that led us to sacrifice our freedom had turned our focus to another major issue. One that has been a stain on the global community far longer than coronavirus. One that has plagued generations.

George Floyd was killed by a manifestation of institutional racism that America has failed to correct since its genesis.

The stripped-down distraction level of Americans has become our Daredevil superpower. We have sacrificed and become hyper-aware. We have the time, opportunity and ammunition to correct a past-due human rights violation. And so,

Justice seekers took to the streets.

We made ourselves heard in the same ways the blind vigilante delivered his heroic message. We strove to make criminals uncomfortable and wary of punishment. We stood strong.

Off the streets, we mimicked Daredevil’s most captivating situational ability and, perhaps, our most powerful.

When it rained, Daredevil reached a new level of awareness.

Each raindrop echoed, creating a vivid multi-sensory sonar vision of the world. His enemies became clear amongst the chaos.

Our world is covered in a dark precipitous cloud and justice seekers feel every manifestation of our own villain; undercover, structural prejudice. Every video of racially motivated police injustice is a needle to our flesh. Every murder victim’s name reverberates throughout our culture and is on the list to be avenged.

Coronavirus has certainly made us sacrifice personal freedoms through quarantine. But it's easy to see how much it has catalyzed the fight for equality. We are all hyper-aware of the state of the world.

It’s hard to say whether or not Daredevil would have become who he was without the blinding radioactive waste. One thing is for certain; Daredevil wasn’t a superhero because of his heightened awareness. He was a superhero because he used his superpower to defeat evil.

We must continue to fight our enemy. Inequality, injustice and apathy.

What's that? I think I hear more racism now. Move out!


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