2016: The Year Fear Won

3:00 AM – 11/9/16

I get awaken from already terrible sleep by a loud, crashing sound followed by the sound of young, white kids cheering outside. I look over at my phone and I see an alert from CNN:

Donald Trump will become the next president of the United States in a stunning victory…

I couldn’t tell if I was still dreaming or awake. I stared at the ceiling until I few asleep again.

5:43 AM – 11/9/16

It was no dream; Trump won the election. I’m jarred to my core. On Twitter, every person I follow and every retweet shows that half the country is fearful, upset, confused, shocked, disgruntled and everything under the sun that describes an unimaginable feeling of hurt. For weeks, voter polling told us that Clinton’s election was a sure thing. Hell, even Vegas told us she was the betting favorite. But none of that mattered anymore because she lost.

Not only did she lose, but the country lost as well. Well, not all of the country at least.

On the day of the election, I was watching this young, black college woman (not older than 22) talk to a white man (late 20’s, early 30’s) about how she hated Trump and how bad he was for the country. She was going on and on about how Trump was unfit to be president and this white man basically said nothing in return. This white man is her work manager; she reports and works directly under him. Because he isn’t retorting nor agreeing with anything that she is saying, it occurred to me that she should not be giving her personal political views to this man because he more than likely voted for Trump. I was thinking if Trump lost, what kind of resentment would this white boss have toward his women employees, specifically the black ones? For a second, I felt fear for the girl and, at the same time, felt wrong for expecting this white person to have backlash (or as Van Jones puts it, whitelash) against this black girl even though I still was fully aware of that potential.

Looking at the results of the election, my fear of backlash could have been correct. Straight white men and women, college education or not, overwhelmingly voted for Trump (as exit polls show) when the others (non-white, LGBT, non-Christian) didn’t. People now want to find the cause of why Clinton did not win. Was it sexism against Hillary? Were racist and insular Americans going to support Trump by any means? Was Hillary not charismatic enough like Barack?

All of these things can and are true in some way. Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” is steeped in upholding the idea of white supremacy. For believers of this slogan, America was at its greatest when it was at its most whitest. If you are white, you are automatically at the top of the pyramid. If you are a straight white man, there is no glass ceiling. There are no congressional hearing on how to control your body. There is no housing or job discrimination. There is no need to protest or march for your right to be human. There is no -ism that you will face on a daily basis. Since Obama’s election and reelection, the country has been forced into including all the others, whether the country was ready for it or not. Trump pandered to scared Americans that feared losing their power, the power of and currency in whiteness. Even the millions of white women that voted for Trump sacrificed their womanhood and feminism for the sake of their whiteness because they know that being white is the ultimate reward in this country.

If you are the other, what are you supposed to do now? We know that we need to stay strong but the feeling of helplessness is palpable. The disappointment that I feel in this country feels like the heaviest burden.

There are people that will undoubtedly say that not all Trump supports are racist or white supremacist or sexist, and they just did not want to align themselves with a career politician with a spotty background, like Clinton. But they chose to aligned with a person that’s a sexist, racist, xenophobe. Because of that, we (the others) have to deal with what comes next. We are fearful and terrified of the wave on conservatism for the next four years that will surely look to infringe on our right to be human.

Starting January 20th, the others will have to take a backseat once again to the “true” Americans.


8 thoughts on “2016: The Year Fear Won

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