I couldn’t wait for the 2016 election to be over.
As candidates were announced, campaigns were initiated, and debates were held, the election quickly devolved from a spectacle to a full-on circus. It became clear that issues that should have been front and center, like socioeconomic apartheid, state violence, and voter suppression, fell by the wayside. Instead, we were subject to countless memes, ridiculous hashtags, faulty logic, and full on lies. Despite how jaded and disgusted I felt by it, I knew that a Trump victory was not only illogical and offensive, but it was ultimately impossible: a racist, sexist, xenophobic reality star with no political experience couldn’t possibly be the next President of the United States. Now, as we reel in the gravity of an impending Trump dystopia, there have been calls to protest, rebel, galvanize, and demonstrate. While we will work together to build and sustain communities that promote equality, empathy, understanding, and justice, we – especially people of color – need time to process the profundity of the political, social, and economic atrocity that has just occurred.
The feelings of shock, despair, disappointment, and fear that white America is currently experiencing as a result of Trump’s win are feelings that people of color and other marginalized groups have carried with us our entire lives. America has done nothing but continue to encourage and corroborate how dispensable we are. We saw it in Ferguson. And Baltimore. And Charleston. And Flint. And Standing Rock. It is no coincidence that Trump centered his entire campaign on attacking, degrading, and jeopardizing oppressed groups of people; those same people remain in the most danger while he occupies the White House. Although I was never emotionally connected to the idea of Hillary Clinton as the first woman to be president of this country, I was, and still am, devastated by her loss.
I am devastated by Trump’s hateful rhetoric that has managed to nestle itself into the hearts and minds of millions of Americans.
I am devastated that his supporters may not be racist, but that racism wasn’t a deal breaker for them when it came time to choose a president.
I am devastated by the violence that Trump has incited and will continue to incite.
I am devastated that the knee jerk reaction to Trump’s win is immediate mobilization without the appropriate amount of time to process or reflect on the election.
Instead of apocalyptic mutterings, calls for “healing,” and piss poor attempts to convey solidarity, there needs to be an honest and candid conversation about the ways this country was founded on, runs off of, and glorifies patriarchal white supremacy. There needs to be a dramatic change in a culture that continuously justifies and normalizes bigotry, Islamophobia, sexism, and hate. Our efforts need to be executed thoughtfully and with great introspection so they aren’t done in vain so that an election like this one – one in which Americans felt victimized instead of empowered by – will never happen again.
-Candace McDuffie for The Untitled Magazine