My friend Georgette gave me permission to re-post this from her Facebook page. I am grateful to her, and I look forward to her passion and action in the days to come.
I also hope that those who don’t understand the visceral fear and sadness at the outcome of this election can, perhaps in private and with no one else watching, have the willingness in victory to read and listen to the causes and history of the pain. Georgette’s is but one perspective, and it comes from a place of relative privilege compared to so many. Please read with an open mind and an empathetic heart.
As you can probably tell, I’m angry, I’m hurt, but more importantly, I’m fired up to speak out and to be the good I want in the world.
I’ve always known about racism, sexism, and bigotry as a white woman. There are too many incidents to write down, but for most of my life, racism was a normal part of my life.
The time my dad picked me up from school in the 1st grade and saw me playing with a black girl and told me I should keep away from her because black people were dirty.
The tons of times I was in the company of white people, mostly men, who used the N word, or Hispanic slurs, or called women cunts and bitches.
The time my aunt told me she wasn’t racist, BUT she believed black people and white people needed to keep separate and shouldn’t mix.
The time a teacher I worked with said the same thing to me before I took out the photo of Greg to show her my fiance.
The time Greg and I were told we couldn’t enter a club in Hoboken because it was too crowded (it wasn’t) and 15 minutes later our friends (white friends) entered in a large group and called us asking where we were.
The time a preschool teacher I worked with said a 4 year old looked like a thug because her mom put her hair in cornrows that day.
The time a woman, when I asked about the town pools and how they worked, told me that she avoided Nishuane pool because the “undesirable” people went there.
Being married to a black man, I don’t hear the racism in my bubble anymore. White people know they can’t speak freely with me. Living in my town, with many like people, I fell into the denial that it’s a utopia of diversity and acceptance.
And that, my friends, is what I’ve realized I’m most upset about. I’ve allowed myself to get complacent. I still knew there was racism and hate out there, but I didn’t realize that so many people, people I know, could support it.
It’s the people who think they aren’t racist because they aren’t KKK members and even have black friends. It’s the people who said they don’t condone Trump’s words and actions, but voted for him anyway.
I will not stop talking about what’s going on in our world. I will not stop talking and showing people the students chanting White Power and holding a Trump sign through their hallways. I will not stop showing the photos of swastikas being drawn or the KKK parade to cerebrate Trump’s victory being planned.
If you are one of the people saying you’re sick of all the political messages on FB or think we should “just move on,” then you may want to unfriend me now.
But I challenge you to stay and face what’s going on. I challenge you to own the hate that’s going on. Not because I hate you, but because I know that one of our biggest problems as a nation is the want to turn away from the hate.
We don’t want to talk about slavery, we don’t want to talk about Jim Crow laws, we don’t want to talk about racism or sexism. We want to say things are so much better today. We don’t want to call racism because we fear we’re being over sensitive. “Hey, look, we’ve voted in a black president, how racist could America be?” We want to pretend that our support of a Trump doesn’t tell our children we support hate.
So I will never normalize Trump. I will not allow myself to start thinking he’s not so bad if he backs off of some of the things he said he was going to do. Whether he builds a wall or not, he is a vile person. Whether he repeals obamacare or not, he has alt-right white nationalists in his circle. Whether he says civil protests are bad or then says they’re good, he is the same man.
I owe it to my daughters, my husband, my family, my friends to speak out against hate and inequality. And I will never allow myself to get complacent. I will not stop.