The Impact of Inequality and Race

From our series 'Coronavirus Through the Eyes of a Charlotte Teenager'
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The author.

COVID-19 has impacted the rich, poor, young, and old. It has also impacted people of all nationalities and cultures. This virus shows no bias—everyone is at risk. It has, however, highlighted biases and inequalities in other ways—biases that aren’t necessarily new to our country, but often get forgotten or neglected.

Most schools provide free lunch to students who are less fortunate. While schools remain closed, these students have become victims of the virus without even having it. To help feed these kids, some school systems are doing curbside pick-ups, while others deliver meals by bus to central locations.

I think delivering meals by buses is a good idea. It keeps bus drivers employed and students' stomachs full. Oftentimes these students are also the ones whose parents are essential workers. How are these kids learning? Who takes care of them? Kids in elementary school need a teacher to instruct them. My brothers and I are fortunate that we can learn on our own while our parents work.

The other challenge low-income students face is access to technology. My school and other schools gave out WiFi routers to those who needed it. But what if kids don’t have internet access at home? How will they keep up with remote learning? One interesting fact I have learned is that Zoom and some other virtual meeting platforms can mask some of the differences in household income. The virtual background you choose can make everyone equal because you don’t have to show your house and get judged based on how nice it is.

This virus has highlighted those who are less fortunate and also put a spotlight on African-Americans, who have been hit harder than others. Why is this? From what I’ve learned, it could be because there is a higher percentage of African Americans who have existing medical conditions and less access to good healthcare.

I believe everyone should have the same chance at surviving COVID-19. There is still so much discrimination in the world today. I believe God made us all the same, so why should access to healthcare, technology, and viable jobs not be the same, too? The coronavirus should bring us together—not in the physical sense—but in the future when this is all over. With this virus going around, my message to everyone is to help as many people as you can, even if that means placing a can of soup in one of the many donation boxes around town. Everyone should have an equal chance at surviving this.