One week (almost) post-election and I think maybe I have gathered my jumbled thoughts into a few coherent ones.
I know the last thing anybody wants to read or hear about is stupid politics. It’s over, let’s move on. They say. Welp, I, a black person, can’t quite ‘move on’.. not yet.
I cried for several hours on November the 9th. The night before, my stomach was in knots, but I also had to work so I didn’t have time to process what was happening. Then I got home after 10 hours of non-stop election coverage, CNN on all the TVs at work, people around me either in stunned silence or laughing it off because they would get to continue to live their lives in bliss. Who cares who wins, they’re both bad! They said.
I got home, I was too tired to care, but I also couldn’t sleep. My nerves felt like they did right before I had to give a speech in school, or before I started a new job. Every thought I could possibly imagine to think raced through my head, but finally I fell asleep. For two hours. Then I woke up again, and never fell back asleep. Instead I just cried, a whole bunch. And I honestly couldn’t think of why I was crying necessarily. I was just.. so.. so sad.
It’s not Donald Trump. He’s not great, for obvious reasons. But he’s also so self-involved that I’m not even sure he knows what just happened. His sole interest (it would seem) is his own happiness and success. That’s a pretty unfortunate trait to have in a President. But, the sense of loss I felt, how defeated I felt, that wasn’t because of Donald Trump. That came from feeling that maybe, America would never accept us. That in places around the country, there are still those who, if given the opportunity, would put us back in chains.
Race shouldn’t be this complicated. It’s not complicated. We are all one people, with varying shades, but the same material makes up our bones and our blood. But somewhere in our timeline as humans, someone changed that. And now, we are still suffering the consequences of it. I’ve been called a nigger, I’ve been told I look like a monkey, I’ve been told I said something “the wrong way” or did something “the wrong way.” I’ve been told I’m not black enough or that I talk white. I’ve been accused of stealing by people I’d never met, but assumed I was problematic because I’m brown skinned. I’ve seen the subtle ways in which people’s body language and tone changes when they address me, compared to how they address a white person.
I’ve tried to ignore it. I don’t like being angry, anger is exhausting. And I’m still (trying) not to dwell in negative attitudes. But I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to say anymore. I know a lot of really wonderful, kind white people. I know some who are loud advocates for change, who acknowledge their privilege and call people out when needed. To them I say, what a relief. Thank you. Because I’ve tried, and the response is often ‘haha, stop playing the race card.’ A shrug. A ‘let it go.’ Sometimes people even listen. But not everyone gets it. How bad it feels, even these microaggressions. How much worse it feels that still, in 2016, the KKK exists. They are allowed to exist. And yet, Black Lives Matter is called a hate group. I’ve seen Facebook comments, tweets, from people I know or from people who know people I know that make me feel like people of color will never truly be heard. We’ll have our allies, but at the end of the day, America just shrugs.
I know the Christian in me says “God will take care of it.” But I feel like that’s a cop out, a way to create a barrier between myself and being passionate about something that might be out of my control. The part of me that worries, the part of me that is angry at the racism and indifference, that part of me wants to yell and be mad. I’m trying to find a happy medium. I’m trying to be less cynical. But I feel like there are no answers, because the people who could change everything won’t. And the people who are indifferent will continue to be indifferent.
This was crazy long. I don’t even know if I’m going to publish this. I’ve just talked in circles, I have no good closer for this. My faith gives me peace, despite still feeling utterly hopeless. If God is not your thing, then that probably sounds ridiculous to you. But my belief in God is the only thing that has stopped me from completely falling into a pitt of despair.
This is all very complicated, very hard to summarize. I wish we could all listen to each other, have a pow wow and sort this out amongst ourselves. There are poor people, poor white people, who feel marginalized and left behind who voted for Trump. He sold them a lie, a beautiful lie that sounded like maybe someone was going to give them a leg up. And he’s probably going to let them down. They’re not hateful people, some of them probably don’t have a prejudice bone in their body. Which is why I hate to blanket the blame for America’s mess on “white people” as a whole. But at the same time, it’s hard to imagine what respectable person could still support someone who said and did so many hurtful things. NOTHING is fair.
I hope I’ve conveyed my utter confusion and sadness. Talk to someone. Ask each other questions. Don’t make assumptions. Communicate. Brighten the corner where you are. Who knows what changes we will or won’t see in the future. But, even if it feels fruitless, never tire of doing good. Convey your frustrations, feel what you feel. Humanity is a fumbling mess, we never get anything right, we mess up everything we touch. But you know what the beauty of it is? The good ones never stop trying to make it right.