This week, if we were talking over coffee, I’d have to have you meet me in my room, and bring me a hot cocoa while I’m hiding, wrapped up like a burrito in bed. The more I see of how the election results have changed this country, the less I want to be a part of it.
Or a part of the human race at all, actually!
I get it, you think the liberals are “having a hissy fit.”
But that’s not really what this is about. Some of us are genuinely terrified, and what’s worse, for some of us who weren’t prepared for the racial divide, we’re finding that we have NO support.
Since I’ve begun speaking out and sharing about the hate that I’m seeing, I’ve been accused of overreacting, being blinded by the liberal media, called a liar, told I’m a hypocrite for standing my ground, been told that my opinion is invalid, as well as my feelings, and been made fun of and shunned by members of my family.
I was not prepared for that… not prepared for any of that.
I suppose I should have been. When that first internet troll told me he could tell I was a Hillary supporter just because of how I looked, I should have seen it coming.
And perhaps I did. I knew not to let it go. For one thing, I was not then, nor am I now, a Hillary supporter. I am not one of those people that has ever worn the “I’m with Her” pin… though somehow I ended up in some Facebook group called “Pantsuit Nation.” A friend added me to the group, and I didn’t care enough to leave it.
Though I did recently leave a group that I was in that comprised girls I’ve known since middle school because of all of this mess.
I can admit that I, on occasion, am prone to dramatics. It’s true. I know you’re shocked, but I’d be lying if I denied it.
I am not known for being racist. Not towards any group. I have often said that being from an interracial family (my parents are white and I’m not, in case you’re new to this blog) has given me that unique perspective that I truly see people and not the color of their skin.
I’ve been told a few times that this is a hallmark example of white privilege, so somehow, even though I am not white, the fact that I don’t see color means that I have some misguided views about race…
And here I thought I was being progressive.
So imagine my confusion and dismay when I began to see the hate crimes perpetrated by the bigoted supporters of Trump.
Notice I’m only talking about the ones who are actual bigots. I do not think all Trump supporters are sexists or rapists or xenophobes or homophobes. I think more are than are comfortable admitting to themselves that that is the true reason why they voted for him, but I do NOT think they are all filled with that much hate.
I knew from the beginning that he worried me. I knew that his speeches and his rallies were full of hateful rhetoric that preyed on people’s fear of the “other.” I knew that most of my minority friends were scared of him because of the multitude of articles and eye witness accounts, and even things he’d said directly that were racist and sexist and predatory.
But I never for an instant thought that enough people were afraid of the “other” to vote him into office.
And now that people of color and women are being victimized, I’m even more astounded of how many of his supporters, and just white people in general are willing to say that it’s just not that bad.
It is that bad! It’s bad enough that even my students felt the need to protest…
And it’s bad enough to make me feel unsafe.
I had a woman glare at me while I was eating just the other day. She was staring so hard that I could feel the hate oozing from her in my direction which is why I looked up just in time to see her husband drag her away to their own table. She was an elderly white woman and her face was contorted into a look of disgust. I think if it had been 50 years earlier she would have spit at me for just breathing the same air she was breathing.
It was the first time I’ve ever felt hate like that before. Twice before I’ve been a victim of overt racism, but it was by children my own age, and I don’t remember it being as terribly traumatic.
Once, in the first grade, a girl called me the N word while she was holding the door open for me, and John-Paul Luke (seriously, that was his name) turned around and asked me if I’d heard what she’d called him. I remember telling him she was talking to me, and in my memory, I remember not being overly upset about it because my family had somewhat prepared me for such a thing, telling me that I might encounter such ignorance because I was different; I was special, and I needed to be proud of my heritage and know that I wasn’t African American. I am Native American, and proud of it.
Then, over the summer between third and fourth grade (I think), I was at a friend’s house and she wouldn’t let me play house with her until she found her one black baby doll because her other dolls didn’t look like they could be my kids, but that one looked like me. I remember being upset at that because they laughed at me as they said it. Our moms quit being friends after that… a thing that was thrown in my face many years later.
Any other racism was simply implied. I feel very strongly that I’ve had trouble in the dating world because I don’t fit in a category. Black men will date me (much to my parents’ chagrin), and some Hispanic men as well, but it’s very rare to find a white man who will show any interest. This is particularly troublesome for me as I have a very intense preference for blondes.
And then of course there is the hated “exotic” thing.
The Boy is the only person who can get away with calling me that because he explained why it was actually a compliment in his opinion. Meanwhile, everyone else who has said it was obviously only looking for a piece of ass. I was nothing more than a box they could check to say they’d boned a Native American chick… assuming they could get that far, which not all of them did.
So to feel hated during my meal, while I was at a nice restaurant, and not bothering anyone, was quite a shock.
I’m aware it’s not as emotionally damaging as having eggs thrown at me while I’m walking my dogs, as one woman posted on Instagram that she had experienced. For that matter, as my mother pointed out, it’s possible she wasn’t intentionally staring me down. Maybe she had Alzheimer’s or dementia.
It just brought up some of those old wounds, reminding me that I am indeed one of the “others” that middle class white America is suddenly terrified of.
Well, not suddenly.
Let’s admit it, the racism and hatred has been there a long time. It’s the reason for the Black Lives Matter movement, a thing that I, myself, thought was an exaggeration until all of this. I was one of those people that would say (and have said long before the Black Lives Matter movement was actually a thing) that ALL Lives Matter.
Another reason people think I’m racist or that I’m guilty of having white privilege.
But this one experience made me very afraid. See, I am tribeless in more ways than just the literal sense. I am racially ambiguous. I can fit in with any race, and most people assume I share their ethnic heritage (except white… my skin gives that away). Now, my racial ambiguity makes me a target. Now I can be whichever “other” scares you the most…
That terrifies me.
And to watch my friends and family act like these horrible things aren’t happening, or that it’s not possible that hate still exists, or that supporting Trump is NOT somehow at the very least some form of condoning this behavior since his hate-filled rhetoric is partially the cause, leaves me feeling like not only am I tribeless because of my skin and my lack of a physical tribal connection, but emotionally tribeless as well. My support group has dwindled to a small portion of my family, the Boy, and a handful of gay men whom I’ve known for years.
It is a very lonely feeling.
And so, I will continue to try to educate them, because it is the only thing I can do to keep myself from feeling helpless (and hopeless) until a real solution can be found.
See, that woman glaring at me while I sipped my Chardonnay took some of my power away. I have always felt mildly like an outsider, but she confirmed that being an outsider was dangerous… not for her, but for me! Showing people the truth behind why people of color are scared right now is the only power I have to change the situation. If that bothers you, you can let yourself out of my life. It’s what I need to do to feel safe right now, and if my safety isn’t important to you, then I don’t need you in my life.
Below are some of the first images I saw that proved there was a problem. Please look at them and try to understand how people of color feel right now. Please understand why we’re afraid, and why we’re not trying to call you a racist. We’re only asking you to stop burying your head in the sand.