What is the ‘new normal’?
By Dr. William Scott
The nationwide protest that was sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis-St Paul was the tipping point. The real issues/problems have always been the inequality of treatment, the absolute lack of value or worth for black folks, and the social stigma that these two points point to. There are loads of descriptive terms that could be used, and in fact are being used as protesters voice their discontent over the tipping point event. In fact, it is the long and enduring social stigma that must be overcome. Social stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a group of people based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of society — that stigma relates to black people: how we look, dress, talk, walk, smile, smell. It also relates to our hair, lips, teeth, feet, hips, butts, and all the other physical elements that make up who we are physically; our bodies.
These social stigmas have been engrained into our social psychic for so long that we black folks desperately try getting rid of them only to please the larger society. When we go against the norm — say in our dress, or how we style our hair, or the flashiness of our cars — we fall in line with what society has to say and blame those who are breaking the norm. Again, understand that the protest is also about the social stigmas that impacts on who we are. For the most part, we are law-abiding members of a culture that breaks the laws against us.
The news network, both national and local, are concentrating on the murder of George Floyd, the destruction of property, the looting of stores, and the display of small mob rule. The issues/problems being protested about is not any of these. It’s about the “new normal” that these protestors are marching for and the society changes that must take place.
What then is the new normal? Let’s be plain, it’s not the ‘old normal.’ What is the old normal? Everybody who is reading this clearly knows what the old normal is. What most don’t know, or are unwilling to accept that new normal, because they won’t agree with it at all!
But it’s here, and we must confront it even when it goes against years of being in the privilege class. OK, let’s get real! The new normal is fair housing, not shacks; fair schooling, not unaccredited schools; fair pay, not underpay for over worked hours; fair healthcare services, not medical quacks who over charge; fair policing, not scared cops who patrol selected areas; fair business practices, not practices that forces closure of fledging ventures; fair politicians, not rich controlling individuals who stymie town growth. When you sit and concentrate on just what the new normal really is, it should be a reversal of all the old normal that kept us divided, that kept us hating others, that kept us calling each other unflattering words, that kept us worshipping separately.
I have not covered all the new normal, yet you get my point, at least I hope so! We are not going backward as, it seems, the current administration wants to take this country. Let’s move forward functioning in the new normal when, with the total involvement of the total community, we can make our town a model to follow. We have the tools, we have the people, we have the talent, honest talented people to forge ahead. Let’s not just talk about the new normal, let’s demonstrate itd qualities, the qualities that our founding fathers (and our ancestors) fought and died for: THESE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
DR. WILLIAM SCOTT is a guest columnist for The Tidewater News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.