The anti-masking crusade, which is most virulent in the south but ensconced in nearly all the states, has garnered self-righteous attributes of earlier movements that also focused on protecting self-privilege. However, this is not quite a reemergence, as these sentiments have furiously smoldered sub-strata for well over a century, often spewing forth to disrupt otherwise harmonious progress that could make conditions better or safer for all.
Following the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, parents who felt that this decision negatively impacted their way of life heatedly protested integration in their public school systems. They often pulled their children out to instead attend private schools, even in locations private schools did not yet exist. In this current crusade against compulsory mask mandates, the Southern governors are issuing dictates that mask ordinances are disallowed rather than standing in school doorways barring entry of Black and Brown children.
These disruptions may be a shout-out for identity recognition or a cry in fear of cultural dissolution; more likely, people joining in common assemblage arguing that the powers-that-be simply leave them alone.
But we do not live in isolation. When individual action can harm others in the community, the morally responsible action is to quietly adopt recommended protocols. As Covid-19 and its variants are still uncontrolled locally and nationally, the protocol recommended by health experts is getting vaccinated and wearing masks in all publicly occupied outdoor and indoor spaces.