Crunkista’s working survival guide…for the next four years
I have never prayed so much in my life. After the election results came in, I walked around in black disbelief. I mean that literally, I now wear black anytime I am outside the house. At first it was because I was mourning the loss of a country that was (slowly) moving in the right direction, but now its because I am trying to tap into some type of old school Black Panther and Black Power mojo. I am desperately seeking ways to survive this.
The day after the election (because I have bills to pay) I was forced to go to work. At least three of my co-workers are middle-aged white women. They didn’t tell me they voted for Trump, but they didn’t really have to. Their collective silence every time they stepped into my office (loudly decorated with Wonder Woman/feminist symbols, a bold sign that says “Black Lives Matter”, and “Hillary For President” magnets and bumper stickers) spoke volumes. Their stupid smirks the day after the election also gave them away. One of these women is my boss. I am a hard worker and a dedicated employee. Consequently, since she became my boss, she has done nothing but praise me and regularly tells me that she loves me. On November 9th I came to the sad realization that this woman uses the same voice she used to vote for Trump to tell me that she loves me. I am working on addressing this irreconcilable behavior but am struggling with how to do it without 1) breaking her spirit 2) punching her in the face 3) losing my job. There are enough resources in this country for all of us and yet this white woman (along with almost half of the country) decided that she would vote for the white man that promised to revoke the rights of others only to ensure that she maintained her white power and continued to feed the historic legacy of white supremacy she, her family and her children benefit from on the daily.
Two days after the election she asked me, “How are you doing?” Against my better judgment, I tried to explain that I was honestly afraid for the safety of my black wife (who is actively serving in the military), my family, my friends and myself. She responded by callously laughing and saying, “Don’t be so dramatic.” I didn’t hit her (though I fantasized about it) and against my better judgment tried to explain the reality to her: many people I know and love are no longer safe in this country. The majority of the people that I love are black, brown, immigrant, queer, and /or female. They are now all unsafe. I shared with her multiple accounts of white people across the country and of all ages now unapologetically parading their racism. The day after the election there are reports of: middle school kids chanting “build the wall” in the cafeteria; women and young girls’ vagina’s being grabbed by grown white men and boys alike; black people being called the n-word for the first time in their lives because they dared to be outside; various hate crimes against members of the LBGTQ community; American Sign Language users being told that their “retarded self” could go somewhere else; black children being taunted and told to go back to Africa; ‘whites only’ and ‘colored only’ signs being placed on top of water fountains and women’s sacred hijabs being pulled off of their heads. I told her that these stories are not only happening around the country but that they keep pouring in. This is not a drill. This shit is real. I repeated – ‘people who are black, brown, LBGTQ, immigrants, disabled, Muslim and/or women are no longer safe in this country.’ She had no response. She said nothing. She just looked at me blankly.
At that very moment, I decided I am tired of explaining racism to white folks. I am actually done. I will no longer continue to educate them on the ways they oppress everyone who is not white. It is not helpful. It is no longer healthy for me nor is it a good use of my time. I understand that I am not saying anything revolutionary here. Our Black Feminist foremothers have said this for decades. So many of us are grappling with the reality of that quiet, lurking, sneaky-ass Trump supporter in our lives. Like so many others, I am struggling with the plan of action to move forward. Although, plausible, I probably should not move back to my country. Furthermore, I can’t hide in my house forever. So, now what do I do? How do I continue to live in this country? How do I continue to LIVE my life BOLDLY and DEFIANTLY as a Latina, as a lesbian, as a woman and as a feminist? I don’t have all of the answers. I can only share a working list of some of the things I propose do in the meantime. Feel free to use any of the following as a part of your own working survival guide:
- Wear black. I honestly believe that the white people I work with do not deserve to see any fucking color but black. I want them to ask me, “why do you always wear black?” So, that I can always respond, “because, black lives matter.”
- Find a way to hold white people accountable for their shit – without losing your sanity in the process. DO NOT let them tell you that Trump in office is not a big deal or that he’s really not going to do all of those things he said he would, just to get elected. I’m not saying that you need to educate them on their oppression (like I said, I am done) but do remind them of the racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic shit their people are now doing under the name of Trump.
- I don’t know that deleting all of the friends you think voted for Trump (side-eye to the black and brown ones) off of your social media groups is the right thing to do or not, but I would strongly consider it. The way I see it, if you voted for Trump, you voted against not only my safety, but also the safety of all the people I love. If you voted for Trump in 2016, there really isn’t anything you can positively contribute to my life. Bye.
- Show love to ALL black, brown, disabled, LBGTQ, Muslim and immigrant people. Even the ones that voted for Trump (still with a healthy dose of side-eye).
- For the next four years, love the people in your circle fiercely. Tell them you love them with your words and your actions regularly. Hold them close. Hug them tight. Feed them. Support them. LOVE. THEM. FIERCELY.
- I read somewhere that the white majority will only be gone by 2043. If this election taught us anything, it’s that that year is way too far away. We need to build an army, time now. I propose that black, brown, LBGTQ, and immigrants have or adopt as many black and brown children as they can possibly afford to. Raise them in the undeniable belief that they are beautiful, intelligent and worthy of nothing but the best this country can offer. Love these children fiercely. Protect them savagely.
- If you do not want children please consider helping those that do in any way you can. Help with baby-sitting, serve as mentors, or help out with the costs of food, diapers, school supplies, clothes etc.
- Then read some more. Start dusting off, re-reading, collecting, and sharing the radical revolutionary writings of leaders and activists such as Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, Arundhati Roy, Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Grace Lee Boggs, and Malcolm X. Use these as bedtime stories.
- Only support television shows and movies that portray the complexity of people of color and better yet those that do so in a positive light. Do not support any depictions of our people that only refuel harmful stereotypes.
- Exercise your right to vote. Every single time there is an election, even if it is for the PTA. Go out and V.O.T.E.
- Run for office, any office. Encourage your friends to run for office too.
- Find other credible sources to get your information. As far as I am concerned CNN and all news sources alike are dead to me. Unless one of the CFC women is on, I will not be giving you any more ratings.
- Blast DMX and the Dixie Chicks in your office. Make your white co-workers wonder what state of mind you are in before they walk into your space.
- Resist. Protest. Rest. Repeat.
- Pray like you have never prayed before.