I’m appalled! I’m outraged! I’m shocked most Americans were completely unaware of the country they live in. To be surprised Donald Trump was elected president of the United States is like being surprise water is wet, fire is hot and winter is cold. Racism is as American as apple pie. The country was built on the labor of slaves imported from Africa. Innocent Black people are dying at the hands of police officers prompting debates on Twitter. Is it such a big surprise Trump is our president? I usually stay away from politics, but I come from a family who is very involved in politics. I predicted Trump’s win when he entered the presidential race, because I am fully aware of the America I live in. Days before the election I found myself in a debate with another woman of color about the American populous. I explained middle America is America. She responded with most of the American populous lives in cities. We agreed to disagree, but I knew I needed to be ready for a Trump presidency.
I’m from the Midwest and grew up in Illinois in a town notorious for racism. So racist the riots of 1904 were the catalyst for the formation of the NAACP. The racism was sometimes overt, but mostly covert and systemic. I attended private school most of my life and was usually the only Black student in my school, so I heard a lot and took notes. And when bigoted white people know they are the majority and dominant culture, they tend to be more vocal with their views. Later, I attended Indiana University where I witnessed the first and only Black president of IU ousted from his position for no good reason. I worked in a newsroom where racist comments were made everyday. I’ve never been subjected to such horrible racism. Attending a predominantly white university taught be to compete, but the most valuable lesson was about racism.
I struggled with being the fashion editor, columnists and longest running arts editor among very jealous and angry white girls. They were young, smart, mean and racist….they were the future of America. They were resentful a black girl used her New York connections to become the first collegiate fashion editor to cover New York Fashion Week. Their entitlement and resentment manifested itself in hateful ways. Many of them even resorted to using the jealousy of their Blacks friends against me. The trick is if Black people don’t like you it means you’re a bad person, and racially motivated actions are not racial at all, it’s because you’re a bad person or employee. Racism is so complex that Blacks can play a major role in the preservation of white supremacy due to short sightedness and emotional responses. It’s not as simple as someone saying we don’t like you because you’re Black and calling you a nigger. It’s we don’t like you because you’re black and more privileged. We don’t like you because you’re Black and smart.We don’t like you because you’re black and you’re opinion doesn’t support the framework of white supremacy. The latter is never plainly expressed and other tactics are used to distract anyone from the underlying issue of racism, in fact, race never enters the discussion.
Many people were operating under the assumption that because white people smile, hold open doors and don’t voice their racist views in public racism doesn’t exist. They couldn’t of been more wrong. Underneath those smiles, carefully cultivated manners and quiet exterior lies something sinister. Now, I’m not saying all white people are racist, but what I am saying is just because white women are having black babies, dancing to hip-hop and smoking weed doesn’t mean they didn’t vote for Trump. White privilege is a powerful beast and you wouldn’t give it up either. So don’t expect middle America to change their way of life for anyone. They love it.
It’s essential to know your surroundings and act accordingly. For the record, Atlanta and New York are not microcosms of the United States. American cities are exceptions to homogeneous white America. It was shocking when I was faced with consoling two white women in tears after Trumps win. I couldn’t understand why they were so upset. The people who voted for Trump are white. How do they not know their own people? And how do I know more about white people than they do?
“This is America,” I said. “How do you think I feel…. I’m Black.”
Trumps presidential win is a lesson on power, politics, and progress. We as Blacks and progressive whites must understand the person in power doesn’t necessarily mean they have power. Take Jews for example, America has never had a Jewish president, but look at the progress. Awareness plays a huge role in how you fare as a people. The biggest take away from being a Black Jewish woman is never trust your oppressor to educate your children, never depend on your oppressor for your livelihood, never believe what your oppressor says about you and always have an exit strategy. We as a people have to stop buying into the game that we have to play into a system that was built on our oppression and win within that system. I ‘m not saying it doesn’t work, but we have to learn how to create our own system. Depend on each other, be kind to each other, stop getting each other fired over $15-$17 an hour, understand the light skinned-dark skinned issue is a Black thing and to racist white people we are just a light skinned niggers or dark skinned niggers….the end and for G-d’s sake learn how to work together. Our oppressor is aware of everything we do to set ourselves back and they can predict it better than we can.
Stay strong and work harder now than you’ve ever worked before. Funding for programs that have been vital to the existence of the underprivileged is going be cut, that’s what analyst mean when they say it’s going to a fiscally conservative four years. So be ready. Everything is about to shift. Get the most you can get before Trump is officially inaugurated. Apply for a passport, save up and do right to get right. Most importantly be conscious of how you treat other Black people. #BlackLivesMatter and we have to believe it before anyone else does. Don’t be afraid, just know everything happens for a reason, so wake up. And remember racism is as American as apple pie.