I know a lot of people who say they like Donald Trump because “he says it like it is” he’s not afraid of not being “politically correct” or offending anyone. So I’m hoping the same people who feel that way won’t take offense to what I’m about to say. This is coming from a place of love and a yearning to help facilitate understanding and maybe start a dialogue.
I normally find myself positioned right smack in the middle of a lot of divisive topics. Being a woman, a black woman… A black woman who happens to be Mormon (I’m like Obama, Hillary and Romney wrapped into one)–and members of my religion typically have extremely conservative social opinions. I lived in Utah for four years but before that I was raised in the south (Georgia). There I was called a nigger umm… Several times. And now living in Texas (though thankfully Austin–It could be worse) I still hear the word flying around now and then in unexpected places. Oh, and on top of all that I’m married to a white cop. Needless to say, I’ve definitely had quite the mix of friends and lived in and experienced diverse communities.
I’ve learned to listen, see, and try to understand different viewpoints. I can understand why my religious friends are so passionately anti-abortion. I can understand why my gay friends are hurt when others speak out against their marriage. Interracial marriages only became legal in all 50 states less than 50 years ago (and my church has disapproved in even more recent history). There are a lot of people still alive on this earth today who feel my marriage is wrong so yea–Solidarity.
All of that said. I know I still have a lot of work to do. I’m not perfect and I still have a lot of understanding to gain. But the one thing I will never ever understand.–The one thing I will never ever support is hate.
We all know racism is bad.
We being you and I. If you are a regular visitor to my blog I know we at least agree on that. I also think it’s pretty bad to call someone a racist just because they don’t agree with you. That said, there are other things you can say or do to set off my racist red alert.
I’ve had several conversations with friends over the last couple of days that have the thesis of “I voted for Trump but I’m not a racist, a bigot or a homophobe.”
I can understand why people are on the defense because there are a lot of harsh words and ugly memes going around right now. Maybe you scroll through your newsfeed and see something about Trump voters being bigots and think “but that’s not me!” To that I say calm down. Take a deep breath and don’t take it personally (unless someone is directly calling you out, but I’ll get to that in a moment).
As my husband blocks traffic so protestors can safely march in solidarity against Trump in the middle of the roadway, many yell and call him a racist cop. We laugh about that.
I know some of you are looking at me and saying: “No Jennifer, I mean I had someone I thought was a friend flat out call me a racist because I voted for Trump!”
Ok, well sometimes that happens too. But may I ask what conversations happened before it escalated to this point? Were you defending Trump and his remarks about minorities? Do you think what he said was wrong? Do you even care? When you were explaining the reasons why you voted for Trump did you fail to mention your distaste for his generalizing Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers? Of course you don’t owe your explanation to anyone, I’m just trying to help explain why your apathetic attitude may come across as acceptance, and why acceptance of this is not ok.
How do you feel about the racism that’s erupting after this election?
No, I’m not talking about the peaceful protests that are a protected by the constitution. No, I’m not even talking about the riots–Though I imagine you’re well aware of those. I’m talking about the middle school kids who are chanting “Build that wall” in the cafeteria around their Latino classmates who are in tears. I’m talking about racial slurs being written on black people’s cars. I’m talking about minorities being threatened by white people in the name of “yea we won!” I’m talking about the KKK planning a celebratory gathering. I’m talking about some of these terrible things that happened the day after Trump was elected president.
Did you not know about this? If not, that’s part of the problem. See, for minorities–For me, this really isn’t anything new. I am well aware that racism is alive and well today. We live it. If you haven’t noticed you probably aren’t paying attention. But when I read about these incidents and I don’t see my friends who say they voted for him saying that’s wrong, I wonder if they think that’s right. Why share sarcastic memes about violent protestors but nothing about the violent hate crimes?
Forgive me if I seem to be overreacting but these are serious emotional triggers for me. And it doesn’t seem logical, but now when I walk to the mailbox with my kids my pulse quickens when a lifted pickup truck passes by. These are serious issues facing people right now. Issues I think about just existing as a family. And I don’t even wear a hijab or run the risk of having family being deported. I imagine it must feel even worse for my Muslim and Mexican friends.
Unfortunately, electing someone despite their very outspokenly skewed views of Muslims, Mexicans, Latinos, Blacks, people with disabilities and let’s not forget women, can lead some people to believe that way of thinking is acceptable.
This is the reason I worry.
Not just about possibly of discriminatory policies that may be coming in the future, but because of the hateful actions from those very happy about the election results. Because racist people now think it’s ok to come out of hiding and say what they really think.
I know you don’t want to be associated with that crowd. I don’t want you to either. To agree with Trump politically is one thing, but when you don’t stand against the racist things that are coming from this, or the hurtful things he said himself, then I’m left wondering if you agree with them.
So if you say you are not racist, that you do not agree with the things Trump has said about minorities or Muslims. Say it! Take a stand. Stand up to racism. Don’t allow it, don’t condone it, speak against it. I know it’s scary, I know it’s probably outside of your comfort level and the type of things you normally talk about, but we can’t do it alone. We need you to help bridge the divide.
To help stand up for what’s right.
For me… Just having someone acknowledge my feelings goes a long way. I have two friends who have recently reached out to me and said how they look at the world differently. How when they’re out and see people donning confederate flags they wonder how that encounter might go if they were Black. Just that acknowledgement of “Hey, racism sucks, I’m sorry you have to deal with this,” goes a long way… for me at least. I guess I’m easy to please.
So may I suggest we use this awkward period after an election where we’re giving our friends and relatives the side eye to also learn a little more about each other?
Look around at your circle of friends. How diverse are they? Do you have friends who voted for the other guy (or gal)? Do you have friends who practice different religions? Friends of different races? Do you have gay friends? If all of your friends look and/or think like you do, it may be time to ask yourself why, and consider how your homogenous circle could affect your views of the world.
I’m not going to call you a racist because you voted for Trump. But your actions now will speak much louder than your vote.