:: No one should be surprised that the U.S. elected a racist, sexist, ableist, tax-evading, draft-dodging, racist, Islamophobic, sexist president.
I’ve kept quiet on the election for about a week, mostly to give those who are far more eloquent than I am a chance to talk first. Here are my thoughts, in no particular order.
(1) I’m not surprised that so many people voted for a racist, sexist, ableist, tax-evading, draft-dodging, racist, Islamophobic, sexist, and otherwise vile individual. I repeat: I’m not surprised that so many of my fellow USians voted for Donald Trump. I see these people all around me, every day. They do horrible things to people I know and love. I was, however, deeply saddened that there weren’t enough votes in the right places to keep Trump out of the White House. But—I was not surprised that so many people voted for him. We live in a country full of people who are racist, sexist, and Islamophobic, even if they won’t admit it to others or to themselves.
[Edit 3pm: It has come to my attention that some people “don’t believe” that Trump is racist. Here are some links with actual evidence about how he refused to rent to Black people; how he publicly reacted to the Central Park Five; how he called Mexicans rapists and etc.; and a whole bunch of other stuff.]
(2) You don’t get to say that a person voted for Trump “despite” his vile beliefs. That’s not how racism and sexism and Islamophobia work. If a person voted for Trump, they voted for racism and sexism and Islamophobia. A person who is anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-Islamophobia would never have voted for Trump because a vote for Trump would have violated that person’s very belief system. That’s how belief systems work. A person who voted for Trump might say they were able to ignore his racism in order to vote for him, but if you can ignore your candidate’s racism when you cast your vote, then you are racist. Like, what do you think that racism is? Racism is the KKK, sure, and racism is also voting for the same guy the KKK votes for.
(3) Trump voters don’t get a pass on racism, sexism, and Islamophobia because they’re mad about something else—having to work two jobs, low wages, fear of terrorism, or what have you. Trump created a scapegoat using racism, sexism, and Islamophobia, and Trump voters bought it. They might be mad about jobs, but Trump allowed them to project their anger on the scapegoat of illegal immigration, for example. They might be mad about a twenty-year war in the Middle East, but Trump allowed them to project their anger on the scapegoat of Islamophobia. Trump waved a flag of hate, and under that flag his voters said they were mad about jobs. Trump’s voters do not get a pass. Their anger is not righteous. It is driven by hate, and will burn everything if we let it.
Some thoughts for my white sisters and brothers:
(4) Don’t wear a safety pin. The only person you are reassuring is you. But do be brave in the face of hate. It’s really scary to confront hate in person, and you will doubt yourself. Do it anyway.
(5) Rename the Million Woman March scheduled for 2017. That name was used already, by Black women. Using the name is appropriation. I don’t have any ideas at the moment, but I’m happy to help folks brainstorm.
(6) On that note, if you are white, and you are organizing, get people of color on your team. If you aren’t organizing across racial and cultural lines, you are doing it wrong. If you are sitting around planning, and every face is white, change that.
If you enjoyed this essay, you will enjoy my IPPY-gold-medal-winning EVEN IF YOU’RE BROKEN: Essays on Sexual Assault and #MeToo.
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