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The other day I went to a grocery store. Standing by the carts was a young woman wearing the uniform of the store and a black mask. For a brief moment I found myself alerted. That is when I realized (and I should have sooner) why Americans have such a problem wearing masks and seeing others wear masks. Masks you see – are for bad guys. Sure, we have a pantheon of super-heroes and the Lone Ranger who do, but in real life, day to day life, the only people wearing masks are those with something to hide and that something is almost always nefarious. That’s one reason we hate so much to see our police officers masked.
The photos I have put together is a mix of masked folk. The cops, the actors, the Klan, are all obvious, but of the three others not all are good guys but not all are bad guys. You might be able to tell from the others, but when it is some random fellow at the market – not so much. Because the girl at the grocery store was – like the cops – wearing her store uniform – I was quickly (a split second) able to ascertain that she belonged. Who belongs in the images here? You can guess, or Google perhaps, but you don’t know who is a robber and who is protecting themselves from The Virus. That is the problem with masks in America. Well – one of the problems.
There is another. It is seen as weak. We are used to seeing people with cancer or some illness wearing a mask. We can see that they look sick and for that we understand that it is their weakened state that has prompted them to put on the mask. Neither of these things is what can call “rational”. One is cultural and has many contrary examples. Of course of the other we know objectively you cannot fight a virus, you cannot punch it in the face anymore than the person can punch cancer in the face. Nevertheless we Americans see it as less than strong to hide behind a mask.
This is just an observation, if you want to wear a mask, by all means do so. I am just explaining what I believe I have deduced about why there is so much resistance in America and not as much in other parts of the world.