What does ‘normal’ mean in the United States?
We use this nonsense word to describe the expected, whatever we’re used to seeing in life. This completely denies the fact that we’re a wildly diverse bunch – a melting pot of different cultures and ways of living. We are not the same.
How this pandemic affects someone who’s already dealing with serious chronic illness, and its cacophony of physical/financial woes, is different than an able-bodied person. Being high-risk means fearing for your safety every time you leave the house, it means a sneeze could destroy or steal your life.
And 4 in 10 adults (37.6%) are high-risk…
IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE LOW-RISK IN THIS PANDEMIC.
The attitudes of our police forces do not affect BIPoC communities the same way they affect a white person. I was raised to believe that it’s normal for cops to keep you safe, while others have to learn how to stay safe *from* the police.
And ~40% of our nation is of color…
IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE WHITE.
Normal is a silo. It isolates us from those that are different from us, making it seem like they aren’t truly there. It keeps us thinking the rest of the nation lives and thinks like our Facebook stream – it blinds people from understanding, keeps us from seeing the comprehensive picture.
Valuing “normal” leads to concepts like groupthink, where people just follow the crowd, letting society take them wherever it wishes. It denies that our entire history is riddled with abuse and oppression, disregarding the affected humans as “other.” It shifts the responsibility from the individual, it makes people feel like they aren’t culpable for the things that happen around them; because as long as it’s normal, it’s fine. (Let’s reflect on this point in relation to our history for a moment…)
Normal is how so little has changed since our civil rights movements, 50 freakin’ years ago; and we’re not treating our elderly and disabled folks any better either. Looking to normal for guidance will lead to assumptions around battles we don’t know anything about. We hurt people by propping up normal.
Fuck normal. Normal is a jerk.