So, this is a shit show.
Last night I sat with a circle of Black women in my home, fretfully watching the election results. None of us were ride-or-die Hillary supporters, but the visionary pragmatism of Black feminism had us hoping that we’d be holding her feet to the fire this morning. Instead, we woke up to the news that Donald Trump is the new president-elect of the United States.
Yesterday, I had sketched out an outline of what I would write in the face of a seemingly inevitable, at least back then, Clinton victory. About how we people of color couldn’t let symbolism and the pantsuits distract us from the hard work ahead, how we need to continue to organize, mobilize, and strategize, that neoliberalism is real and that we have to continue to fight.
And all of that remains true. But I’d be lying if I said that this Trump victory doesn’t make our jobs as truth tellers, freedom fighters, and healers all the more difficult. I’ve been living in the Deep South for most of my adult life (not that the North is better at all, trust) and I work in the conservative Bible belt. The differences and divides among us are far from theoretical. Sundown towns, hate groups, overt and covert racism, sexism, xenophobia and so on, and so on, and so on have real, material consequences in my life and the lives of so many of us. There are times and places where I feel physically and mentally unsafe—lots of times and places. That wasn’t going to change under a Clinton presidency and it for damn sure ain’t going to change during the Trump years.
And, to be honest, while I remain steadfastly devoted to the cause, to the movement, and above all to us as a people, I find myself cocking my head to the side and really just wanting to say, “Really, white people?” Because while I’ve spend the last 18 months in deep, often hard conversations with Black and Brown loved ones and comrades about the efficacy of voting, not voting, voting for Bernie, voting for Hillary, voting for Jill Stein, I have not spent a whole lot of energy having conversations with white people about this. Because, my mental health is precious to me and I can’t.
But what in the entire fresh hell? Look at these exit polls and tell me what the fuck happened.
So, pantsuit nation, what’s up? Over 50% of white women were in the voting booth voting for fascism, rape culture, and just flat out ignorance? What’s clear is that many folks were speaking out of both sides of their necks this election. Talking about #ImWithHer but laying up with him. I mean, color me unsurprised, but that is the real scandal.
I watched my sis Crunktastic drop serious knowledge on BET last night. She mentioned that this moment feels more like the post-Reconstruction era, where Black codes became Jim Crow laws that legally mandated separate but (un)equal civic spaces for people of color and whites. I turned to my homegirl on the couch and we both said, in unison, “This is the nadir of Black life.” Black and Brown people are always the collateral damage when white supremacy feels threatened and flexes. Yesterday’s election was a clarion call for undercover and not so undercover white supremacists to hold onto their power by any means necessary.
So if I see another person fix their face to call out Black folk or even third party voters (except for Libertarians because, really sis?), I will scream.
White people did this. White men and white people. Black women showed up and showed out at the polls—as always ready to save the nation from the very worst of itself and always the first to be blamed for damn near everything.
Not today, Satan.
Keep your calls for unity, white people. Save your breath if you’re coming at me talking about being kind and compassionate to those who voted differently. I’m a queer Black woman who is the daughter of immigrants. The nation just elected a demagogue who literally hates everything about me. It’s not on me to have to prove my gentleness and my worth. I have no grace to extend and that’s not my job. You want grace, call on Jesus.
White people—so-called liberal, progressive, radical, dare I say “woke” white people—it’s time for you to do your motherfucking work. Organize, mobilize, and strategize with and for your people. Work on uprooting white supremacy at your job, place of worship, and at the Thanksgiving table. Get your shit together.
People of color will be over here doing what we’ve been doing since the beginning of time—loving each other, fighting for freedom, and making our way to liberation.