Opinion | Social distance during the coronavirus pandemic is a privilege

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If they go to work, they often have to use crowded public transport, since low-paid workers cannot necessarily afford to own a car or call a taxi.

This is the life of the working poor, or those slightly above poverty but still struggling. All our discussion around this virus is stained with economic elitism. In social media comments on images of crowded buses and crowds of delivery men in front of restaurants, people chastise blacks and browns for not always being inside, but many who do so in comfortable houses with enough money and food.

People cannot understand what it really means to be poor in this country, to live in too small a space with too many people, not to have enough money to buy food for a long time or anywhere for the store if they did. People don’t know what it’s like to live in a food desert where fresh fruits and vegetables are not available and where nutrient-poor junk food is cheap and available in abundance.

People are quick to criticize these people for crowding in local fast food restaurants for something to eat. Not everyone can afford to order GrubHub or FreshDirect.

Furthermore, in a nation where too many blacks have felt that their lives are under constant threat, the existence of yet another produces less panic. The ability to panic becomes an existing privilege for those who rarely have to.

I wholeheartedly encourage everyone who can stay at home, but I am also aware enough to know that not everyone can or will not, and that it is not just a pathological disregard for the common good .

If you are sheltering on the spot in an ivory tower, or even a comfortable cul-de-sac or a well-appointed apartment, and your biggest concern is boredom and leftover food, please stop scolding those who scratch themselves to survive .

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