Anti-Social Distancing

Melvin Twigg Mason

The latest attack on race relations and human development might be social distancing.

Most, if not all, of these distancing practices, are based in sound wisdom or practicality. But what will be the long-term effects of such separation on American society? What will life look like after this so-called “Chinese virus” has run its course? Will we no longer be our brother’s keeper (unlike the couple that recently left a $9,400 dollar tip for a small restaurant and its employees?) Will living-in-the-moment give way to living in virtual reality? Will we be even more likely to pull the trigger, push the button, or pull the plug on others??

Yes, we say that in the name of “protecting our fellow man” we need to keep a physical distance between each other for the sake of reducing risk during the current health crisis. But isn’t that a handy by-product of the need we already feel to alienate whoever we consider to be “undesirable?”

I’ve gotten the side-eye more than once lately when I’ve innocently had to cough or blow my nose in public (no illness involved). Or God forbid if, out of reflex, someone gives a hug or a dap (a lengthy, choreographed handshake) when crossing paths with an unexpected friend.

Now we separate our kids through the closing of schools and libraries. We shut down visits to the sick and elderly. And when you add these actions to a society that already leans toward segregation, you have the perfect excuse to close borders, ethnically exclude or redline certain races, and keep segments of society under house arrest (excuse me, I mean “mandated self-quarantine”.)

Our morals have already been decayed through political correctness and peer-pressured tolerance…of everything! The loss of intimacy in relationships is evident in the (over-) use of social media and camera assisted communication. The warmth & connection of verbal interaction on the phone has been replaced with cyber-bullying and TYPING TO each other. And now, we complete the circle (oxymoron intended) by physically disconnecting from one another through “social distancing.”

Human beings are made to be relational, so says any number of psychological and faith-based writings. Putting gadgets and/or distancing practices exclusively between our one-to-one connections can be anti-social and anti-developmental.

When this health crisis (and the 2020 election cycle!) is all said and done, may we get back to the business of loving one another…tactfully, effectively, physically, and color-blindly.

Leave a Reply