One Year Later, Reflections on a Trump World
I thought a lot about whether or not I wanted to share this article. The thing with anger is that once it’s expressed it’s either heard, denied or ignored. When it is heard, truly heard there’s healing. When it is denied or ignored there’s trauma for different reasons but trauma nonetheless. At some point we might realize that we are in a cycle of abandonment when it comes to rage, where we are constantly denied and devalidated, and we can’t get out.
As difficult as it is we are the only ones able to break the cycle and decide that we deserve better, in certain areas of our lives. We can't control everything, but we control enough to make radical changes in our lives and work toward healing. Over the last year I have been caught in this cycle, being denied or ignored by those closest to me. I am proud to say that today that is not the case. I have removed the individuals who have shamed my rage from my life. I have built stronger foundations without them. And despite the greater society still devalidating and ignoring I am at a place where I know that they are not the ones that matter. I will heal, I will live a life of wellness, and I will continue to fight until we have built a better world. So, today I share again, to close the last year and find healing for myself and others. I will most likely not share much about this topic from the same lens in the near future. If you want to listen and truly commit to change then great, if not, I’m not waiting.
On this historic day I’d like to address you, white people of the world. This day should not be happening. Not because Trump should not have been elected. Not because 3rd party voters didn’t vote for Hillary. Not because the DNC is corrupt and sabotaged Bernie. But because 400 years ago you should have stepped up and acted. Because five hundred years ago you should have stepped up and acted. And by act I’m not referring to what you normally do. I’m talking about real revolutions. You should’ve stopped the slave trade before it began, and you should have prevented colonization and the breaking of the world. You should have prevented the creation of a system that made you superior on every level. You should have acted.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, that wasn’t me. You may have not been alive then but clearly you have learned nothing since then. You are still using the tools of your forefathers, your tools, to oppress. You are using their tactics, your tactics, for deflection. You have been doing the exact same things for generations.
Look, you may have convinced yourself that this is new but we both know that that’s bullshit. How dare you go around saying this is new without studying your own history? And if you have then you know this is a game we’ve played over and over again for hundreds of years. Something outrageous even for you happens: you call us in asking us to tell you about our experiences, you shame us, you direct your anger towards us, you make changes that make you feel better, and then you turn around and do it all over again.
Don’t believe me? This cycle has not only been highly discussed, but studied for centuries. Over the last half century alone, you had individuals like Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks, Maya Angelou, all discussing it and offering solutions. How else do you think we’re where we are? Are you so arrogant to believe that you’re any better than your ancestors?
I recently got into an argument with an older White Male. Why? Because no matter what I said he kept saying how much better things are since slavery. He would not accept that every ounce of progress the system has evolved to has also ensured that the status quo remains. There’s very little that surprises me, but when White people throw all objectivity aside, all reason, all your experiences, to show you how far they have come I am always taken aback by it. Because this argument wasn’t about Black POC, or other POC, this was about him feeling good about the world he helped create. Guess what? This is not new, or unique to this generation, or even this century. White people have been convincing themselves that they’re better than those before them for hundreds of years. This sense of being better has been one of the greatest obstacles to our progress. Have you heard someone say that a certain group is not ready for change? Have you said it? What you’re actually saying is that they’re unwilling to admit that they are just as bad. And they are. And you are.
Now, I get it. You had thrown yourself into such a deep slumber that you believed this fantasy, and when he came around it felt like it was collapsing. Do you know what you’ve done since then? You’ve let out your anger on the rest of us. You have de-validated every single one of our experiences. You centered yourself and your experience. You pushed us aside. Again.
This is not new to us. But we get it, this is hard to deal with, trust us, we’ve been living it for generations whether through slavery, colonization, or both, or any of the hundreds of ways we've had to survive you. We know how bad it is. And yet, instead of reaching out to the ones who’ve been living it and understand it better than you ever could, you pushed us aside, told us we’re the problems, and ignored everything we’ve ever told you. You kept asking us why we never told you, when you should’ve blamed your own ancestry for not telling you that they’ve lived through this exact same thing. This is your failure for never searching for the answers that are already out there.
When I began searching for answers around gender equality and an understanding of the world of Patriarchy a few years ago I didn’t run to the women in my life to ask them to explain themselves. I went to Bell Hooks, who had written dozens of books about the topic dozens of years ago. Her words were just as true during those days as they were thirty years ago. I learned about feminism from her, intersectionality, Patriarchy, and love. She gave me words to the emotions and experiences I carried, and transformed my life. When we tell the privileged to sit down and listen we’re not asking you to wait on us, we’re asking you to listen when we talk, but in the meantime go and act. Go find books that are just as much historical as they are about societal problems. And if you ask for a recommendation and don’t change after, without a critical understanding of why you haven’t changed, then don’t bother coming back. I have had friends who understood after a single conversation, while others have read half a dozen books that I had recommended and never changed a thing; in fact they were even more toxic after, as now they could use our knowledge against us.
Some of you will reach out and call me terrible things. Some will say that my anger at your white supremacy is shaming, and preventing you from showing up. No, the only person preventing you from change and showing up is yourself, and other white people. I will not baby you, or sugar coat all this. And I will not be holding my breath for you to show up, not because I don’t believe you’re capable of it, of change, but because I believe you’re unwilling to, and that’s very different.
So, on this historic day I wish to remind you that this day is not unique. This day has happened over the centuries, and for some of us it’s just another day. Non-Black People Of Color (NBPOC) know this, Black People Of Color know this, Indigenous People around the world know this, White co-conspirators know this. And deep down, you know this too. Believe it or not, this is also not the first time we’ve stopped waiting, but hopefully, that this will be the time we make lasting change.
Welcome to year two of Trump! Year far too many to count of White Supremacy!