I am so angry, so very and deeply angry. And sad, very sad.
I have struggled with my bi-racial identity all my life – never fully finding community within white society and never really knowing any black community. Even extended family members have worked to position me as somehow other to them and their own sense of identity and community. It has been painful at times and also very freeing. What I woke up realizing after the 2016 Presidential election is that I am still outside, not part of, and have had many friends and family vote in opposition to me. By this I do not mean that they have voted against me by simply choosing another candidate; I mean their vote was in direct opposition to me as a human being. They chose white supremacy and violence against women as acceptable collateral damage to their vote. I woke up realizing, I am not now, nor have I ever been a part of their community – regardless of blood or friendship. And to that, I am angry, I am hurt, and am done. I realized, I cannot bring people along to a more equitable world who so willingly cast aside the inclusion and safety of entire groups of people because they choose to stand on the side of white supremacy. My friend groups and family is no longer a safe place for me, if ever they were.
And if any one thinks for one minute that they voted for Trump because of some particular point of agreement – abortion policy, immigration policy, fed up with the federal government, they are wrong. The people who voted for Trump knew full well he was being endorsed by David Duke, well known former KKK Grand Wizard; he was being endorsed by various and assorted Neo-Nazi groups; he was rallying white supremacists nationwide. And yet, this was ignored, justified, rationalized, and some of my people (probably around 50%) still voted for him. He has been accused of raping a 12 year old and 13 year old, the latter is going to civil trial in December. As a woman who has survived rape and a woman who knows this generational trauma too well, I am perplexed how people have justified supporting a man who openly brags about sexually assaulting women. So whether they intentionally voted for white supremacy and sexual assault, they were knowingly supporting just this. Period.
By supporting white supremacy overtly or covertly, I am reminded of the images of Jim Crow – the separate drinking fountains, swimming pools, entrances, schools, the haunting images of Emmitt Till, the hanging of black folk – my folk – with impunity (the Strange Fruit in the trees), the burning of crosses, etc. I am reminded of images from the Civil Rights Movement of firehoses and attack dogs turned on peaceful black protestors, the state sanctioned violence by citizens and police, the ugly white angry faces yelling and screaming violently at small children integrating the schools, and I shudder. Just 50 years ago, this would have been me; 100 years ago, I would be sitting in a different place than my family – my existence would be illegal and I would be threatened with violence for being black in every area of public life within this country. I am angry, furious that anyone knowingly supports and emboldens this. Unless my family and friends have been sleeping or living in a bubble, they would see that few things from Jim Crow and the march to civil rights have changed – police still commit state sanctioned murder, white folk murder black and brown people with little consequence (many with no consequence), and guard dogs are still used to attack peaceful protestors. The difference today is that police are more militarized than ever, facing citizens as enemies of the state. And I feel the fire in my belly burn.
I remember learning about the Holocaust. I have read, studied, watched documentaries on the Holocaust. I cry every single time I see the images of people locked behind barbed wire and emaciated. I sob when I think about the children ripped from their families or those made to march in winter without proper attire with toes breaking off in the arctic tundra of Siberia. And my heart aches for all those driven from their homes, imprisoned in ghettoes, scientifically experimented on, and murdered by the government that was meant to serve the citizens. People did not think Hitler would come to power. The world stood by. Otherwise good people allowed fear to hold them hostage and did nothing – they ignored the smells of the ovens efficiently murdering millions of people – of human beings.
For every atrocity that has happened in the world (and I could list more, many many more), otherwise good people supported a tyrannical, power hungry, self-aggrandizing, bully. They bought into the fear, the hate, the scapegoating and they did nothing. Nothing. And that is what my family and friends just handed me, my kids, my friends who feel vulnerable because of some part of their identity, and people around the nation in similar places – a giant shit sandwich.
I have studied a little bit and learned from women in my family what life was like for women before me. Women were property of men, still servants to their husbands, no self determination over their own bodies, with no right to vote. Husbands raping wives was not even a crime until some time in the last 40-50 years. Women and children who were raped never spoke about it, families often turned their heads, knowingly and implicitly allowing these things to continue. Women were beaten by the men who claimed to love them and there was no crime – it was keeping your wife in line. These things still happen and we are still navigating how to approach these things from health, legal, and social standpoints. President Obama and Vice President Biden have done more to establish protections for violence against women than perhaps any presidential team in the history of this country – seriously ever. And this country just elected a serial sexual assaulter, a child rapist, a philanderer (the last of which I really don’t care about except that it speaks to his view of women as servants to him). This vote just showed me that my friends and family think so little of me being a woman, of my daughter and her safety in this country or in college, and for that I have no patience.
I have come to the conclusion that I cannot educate any of these people. I cannot build coalitions with these people – family or friends – nor do I want to. They were willing to hand this country over to white supremacy and misogyny and that threatens me. That threatens my children. This threatens every single person of color, every single LGBT person, every single religious minority, and every single woman who refuses to kowtow to a male, and every single poor un/under educated white woman.
I woke up with clarity Wednesday morning following this election. I realized quite clearly what my family and friends have been trying to tell me for decades. I do not belong and they are not my community. Fine. I am fine with that. I am used to that pain and find this very freeing – like breaking up a toxic relationship. Thank you for that liberation. This nasty woman has work to do. I now know very clearly where my community is. My community lies in the realm of truth and reality, in the place where evidence lives and carries weight. My community is with every marginalized person in this country who feels scared and vulnerable. My work now is to bring these various groups into unity with each other to work to defeat white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, ableism once and for all. I will stand and fight. I will not lie down, I will not fall to malaise and complacency again. I have a fire in my belly and it is ABLAZE!!!
I guess I should say, #thanksTrump because this #nastywoman is woke and I have work to do and I am now dedicated to this work just as ferociously as I am my career and children! And for those of you who think this is about Trump v. Hillary, it is not, this is so much deeper than this election. This is 400+ years of oppression in my blood that has finally come to a boiling point. I am educated, I am focused, I am clear on my mission and goals and I am coming to tear down the old, white, male, Christian, heterosexual, affluent, patriarchy. If that is you, then I am coming for you. And for my friends and family who voted Trump, thank you for voting white supremacy and misogyny, I’m ghosting out on you too, I have nothing more to say to you.
Oh, and lest I forget, don’t use me as your “and I have black family” or “I have black friends”, I am not your negro!