Brave New World Indeed: White People’s Responsibilities in the Trump Era

2
297
Combat ignorance. Read.

Guest Post: by Stacie/GirlGriot

I’ve been writing about race for years. I’ve been writing about race in a more in-your-face way in more recent years. It should surprise no one who knows me, then, that I would respond to the results of this election in terms of race.

It’s Day Two of this new world. And on Day One I had a lot to say. At first I was silent, processing my grief. I want to be clear, however, that my grief didn’t last long. I cried … for about 90 seconds. And it felt forced, like something I felt I should be doing. I moved pretty quickly into my anger, the place I envision myself living these next four years.

I wrote about the fact that half this country chose to side with the Klan and about the fact that this election was decided by white people. And I wrote – a LOT – about white folks needing to take responsibility for that, about white folks needing to come gather their aunties and grandpas and best friends and do the work needed to change this world.

I place responsibility for this election on white people. Pure and simple. But that doesn’t sit well with everyone. On Facebook, a friend commented on one of my posts, reminding me that we are all grieving, reminding me that she is white, asking how I thought my posts made her feel … then telling me that she felt blamed and hurt by my words. I was surprised, but I think this may be the first time I’ve really come for white people. In the past, it’s been easy enough to believe that I’ve been talking to “other” white people, but this time I came for the whole, not-at-all-monolithic group.

My friend has since deleted her comment, and I’m not sure what that means. She hasn’t (yet?) unfriended me, and I hope she won’t. Her comment made me realize I needed to make myself clear, and to more people than just that one friend. I can see how many of my white friends may be having the same response. Here’s what I wrote in reply to that comment. I’m posting it for anyone who’s felt blamed or attacked by my comments in the last 24 hours:

 

 

“I appreciate you saying that this hurts. My intention isn’t to be hurtful to you or any of my other white friends, but I can believe that what I’m posting is hurtful. My point here and with each of the posts I’ve made is that white people need to work to change white people. White allies need to find ways to reach out to racists, educate racists, help them address and get past their fears and ignorance. This isn’t blame, it’s a call to action. This isn’t about my grief. This is about taking stock of the results of this election, seeing the breakdown of voting that tipped the scale so heavily. Clinton lost because she lost the white vote, so I am calling on white folks to step up. POC have been talking about and fighting and voting against racism for forever. White folks have been, too. Posts like this one are directing that fight in a very specific direction.”

I realized after posting that this isn’t an apology. I’m sorry my friend is hurt, sorry if any of my other friends are hurt, but I can’t be sorry for what I’ve said. This election outcome lies solidly at the feet of the white majority that voted for hate and fascism. I need other white folks – those who stand against hate and fascism  – to bring this fight home, work with white people, confront racism face to face.

#bravenewworldindeed

2 COMMENTS

  1. I think that we need to be clearer. To say that white folks need to educate racist white folks allows some of those white people to envision an other. It conjures the gun toting white guy in Florida who wants to build a wall and roll back affirmative action. There are “good” white people who need educating. Actually they need it most of all because I believe they’re the majority. So this conversation about white privilege we’ve been having for the past few years, it needs to seep into the good whites. They need to assess what role they have in continuing to foment a system that allowed this surrealist nightmare of an election to happen. Then they need to deal with other white folks. You’re right; it’s been on us–poc-for way to long. I understand that your friend was hurt. But it’s just that kind of fragility and victim-blaming that needs to be extinguished. It’s okay to say it: White people did this.