The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Highlighted Societal Inequality
For the past three days, the capital of the Philippines has been on total lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. The country is now in a state of calamity as the number of cases continues to rise. Members of our government believe they are forced to take drastic measures in hopes of “flattening the curve.”
Social distancing is no longer just a suggestion, it is being enforced legally. People can’t enter or exit the capital region unless they are healthcare workers or delivering essential goods. Public transportation has been suspended to reduce the chances of people coming into close contact with one another.
Because of this, many people can’t get to their jobs. Those in the transport sector have lost their source of income. In effect, the gap between the elites and the marginalized has only increased.
The wealthy can retreat to their comfortable homes, with food stocks to last them months, whereas our less fortunate citizens are out in the streets, getting caught by police for not following the law.
As people are being told to remain indoors, those who can work from home can seek refuge in their bedrooms and continue earning from behind their computer screens. Yet those whose professions don’t allow them to work remotely are left clueless as to how they will provide for their families in the days to come.
No one knows when this situation will end. Numerous establishments have announced that they will close “until further notice.” Small businesses like ours are taking the first, and possibly the hardest, hit as we are forced to cancel operations while our debts continue to pile up.
People on social media are calling out to influencers here and there to “check their privilege” and refrain from making insensitive posts. This is a sentiment I have long echoed as the wife of a person with a disability.
Recognizing one’s privilege isn’t easy. From my experience, I have realized that it requires a high degree of self-awareness. You must be able to acknowledge that many of your personal accomplishments, material blessings, and other good things in your life are not entirely “your own.” Rather, you can afford them because you happen to be in a better position compared with others.
This is what it means to be privileged. It means that one has an “unearned benefit” or “advantage received in society by nature of their identity,” according to writer Kathleen Ebbitt. A privileged individual is not immune to hardships in life. Yet things may appear to come easier for them than they do for others.
When I met my husband and other members of his hemophilia community, I saw the adjustments they needed to make to have a semblance of normalcy in life: factor infusions, a heightened focus on fitness, and the need to assert themselves to avoid discrimination for having an “invisible illness.” All of these things are not easy — but they do them every day.
Ultimately, I realized how much I’ve taken my own good health for granted. As someone with anxiety, I’ve spent a long time battling my own hypochondriac tendencies. I’ve battled eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Yet I’m still healthy and fit by most standards. I am still capable of doing things that people with physical illnesses may only dream of doing.
Instead of worrying, I am probably better off using my good health to accomplish my goals and dreams. Or better yet, I can use my good health to help others, starting with my husband.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.