EQUALITY AFTER ELECTION DAY
My Post-Election Guide to Surviving in a Dying United States
Finishing up 2020 with a good attitude, half a rainbow, and all the players of Team Whoop-Ass—at the very least
I’m a proponent of equality. I’ve been fighting in various areas of society to change people’s hearts and minds about racial equality for nearly two decades. Our nation is better off when there is more fairness in all things. Over the past year of researching and analyzing data and history, it’s hard to accept that such an easy problem can’t be cured because our entire American culture relies on racial inequality for its existence. Inequity is made possible by immoral factors such as racism, hate, exploitation, doctrines of unfairness, and political propaganda. These characteristics are in our national DNA. I’ve spent many sleepless nights coming up with ways to communicate with readers who may want to try new ways of solving old problems, because you can’t fix something if you don’t believe it’s broken.
Advocating for equality has been quite the learning experience. It’s difficult. It’s not even fun. Racial equality feels like it’s a matter of my life or death. I’ve had to lower my expectations of humanity. We are not as civilized and humane as I thought we were. It’s been a disheartening journey.
But I haven’t given up.
My strategy to counter this nation’s successful campaigns of inequality has been simple: Talk to white people in practical ways to help them see the absurdity of racism, the driver of all racial inequality. It has worked, but not as often as I liked because of the sheer nature of whiteness and white supremacy. Social media’s algorithms and artificial intelligence don’t help.
I’ve also been straddling the fence about who I want to talk to going forward. On one side, there’s helping Black people understand this fight for equality really isn’t our battle. We have no power in this dynamic. Most times, we aren’t able to affect significant changes fast enough for us to feel some relief. It hasn’t been easy. Then there are the challenges of trying to break through the glut of propaganda, “woke” warriors, and liberal talking heads who turn the fight for equality into a one-, two-, or three-topic election (immigration, the Supreme Court, or health care). And then there’s getting through to white people. That’s . . . hard. Period. The most effective tools Black people have are our storytelling abilities. Getting white folks to listen to us has been challenging. Getting white people to see themselves as the primary obstacle to achieving equality has been a struggle. Getting white people to move to the action phase has been torturous.
If the concept isn’t presented in a palatable way for my white readers, their comments reflect it. I used to spend a lot of time going back and forth with people who disagree with me, but then I learned a lot of these folks were mansplainers and trolls hiding behind fake racist profiles just out to harass and discourage women and writers of color. Achieving racial equality means dealing with lots of distractions. Anything diverting attention away from Black people focusing on racism is a distraction.
My method of educating my readers is uncensored and unvarnished. It’s not for the faint of heart. Personally, I feel Black people have done ourselves a disservice by being “nice” to people about racism and inequality. How can we continue being nice to people who are trying to kill us about their trying to kill us? We cannot, and I will not. My thoughts on white fragility are that it’s not my problem or my concern. If you’re going to learn from me, you’re going to have to toughen up, gather yourself, and get your life together, or go find the training wheel content for beginners and snowflakes. I don’t breast feed other folks’ children. Feelings are the last thing I’ll be concerning myself with when I write from now on. The truth hurts sometimes. Racism hurts far more than any emotional injury whiteness claims from hearing our words.
I was a contributing writer for Our Human Family’s Fieldnotes on Allyship: Achieving Equality Together. To have had a hand in creating a body of work that I believe in and feel will help many people—once the white noise and fear of homegrown terrorist violence subsides (hopefully)—was inspiring.
Things I Wish I’d Done Differently
Advocating for equality has been quite the learning experience. It’s difficult. It’s not even fun. Racial equality feels like it’s a matter of my life or death. I wished I could have done live videos, but those can be a blessing and a curse. Plus, people are lazy. They’d rather watch a video than read words on a page. Coronavirus has made it so that we can’t travel. I had to cancel my trips to Costa Rica, Italy, and Greece because nobody wants our nasty Covid non-compliant butts in their country. And while some countries have lifted their travel bans because they are desperate for tourism dollars, the risk is too great for travelers and the poor islanders alike. I can’t put good people at risk for a few days of pleasure.
I wish I would have used more social media platforms. I wish I could have done live videos, but those often seem to be more of a curse than a blessing. Sometimes people are lazy and don’t want to read. They’d rather hear the wisdom than read it. Maybe I could have taught more people on the benefits on equality had I used alternative methods. I wish I had transitioned to other writing platforms like some other outstanding writers who were once on Medium. Medium seems to appreciate diversity and antiracism when the mood strikes them in spells and they have peculiar curating methods when it comes to matters of race. Getting ample exposure has been challenging. This platform has been my preferred method of communicating messages on equality. Writers of Color are likely going to do more to spread our messages of equality, love, and antiracism.
I wish we didn’t have Covid so that allies and People of Color (POC) could have local mixers and meetups where we have real discussions about racial inequality, social injustice, and racism, kind of like support groups/TED Talks. People of different races are more alike than we are different, and we need to be in spaces where we can start seeing this. Hopefully, when outside opens again, this would be an option for those interested in continuing on their antiracism and equality journeys.
I wish I had said more, but talking about inequality and racism is extremely unpopular. The subject of equality has an expiration date, like peanut butter. People have a mindset that you can’t or shouldn’t say things that are unpopular. Sometimes, even expressing general thoughts gets your head chopped off. I’m learning just how free we are not in America.
Going Forward after the Election
Going forward after the election is going to be hard, like breaking up with someone you love, but you know they aren’t any good and never meant you well. I have seen America and I cannot unsee it. Both Democrats and Republicans engage in practices that create inequity in our society; they just have different methods and use different tools. Anti-Blackness isn’t practiced only by white people, People of Color engage in it, too, including many Black people from the African diaspora. As long as there are free markets and capitalism, there will always be inequality and racism.
I have no more patience for the ignorance of whiteness or its insistence upon being comfortable; its comfort means my discomfort, and I’m not spending the last part of my life being uncomfortable for whiteness. I’m about protecting the Black community, my children, and my parents. I’m happy that there are a few good allies around the world who are willing to support us on our journey. This place we’re in is a place of uneasiness, but it’s familiar. I liken it to being the new and only Black person in a white space, where you dodge friendly white fire and stares from those who believe you don’t deserve to be in their space, and the lone ally is afraid to speak to you because of the pecking order in whiteness. And that pecking order is always more important than my Black life and comfort.
November 4, 2020, will be a new day for me, regardless of who wins this election. I’ve watched so many groups steal our Black movement, silence our Black anger, change our narrative, give us an agenda that is not ours, blame us for things that definitely aren’t our fault, and decenter Black people (again). I’ll be working to pick up the pieces of our shattered and broken lives. Hope is hard to find when every guardrail meant to protect America has not held. It’s discouraging to see lawlessness and injustice flaunted in our faces. That so many white people believe in inequality more than they do humanity is shameful.
Seeing America as it truly is has changed my life forever and I will never be the same. Sometimes I feel like giving up on the snail’s crawl towards equality. I don’t want to keep focusing on something I can’t control. I don’t want to keep pouring my energy into a people who have an incurable love affair with inequality. I don’t want to have to fight for things others believe I shouldn’t have the privilege of accessing.
Black people are getting it from all sides. We get it from hardcore conservative and casual liberal racism. We’re dealing with People of Color and their anti-Blackness. The Russians, Iranians, and Chinese are picking on us online with the help of the federal government. We have anti-Black Black people. We have Black celebrity treason. (See Kanye, Ice Cube, and 50 Cent.) We have the mainstream media’s negative bias, dutifully provided by white journalists who have spent little to no time around Black people.
We’re stuck with a political party that doesn’t understand its Black populations and People of Color, or so they pretend not to understand. We’re led by a gang of senior citizen white men and women who seem to be as plentiful as the clouds in the sky. They’ve perfected indifference. We live in a nation that has declared war on certain sub-groups of its citizenry. The federal government calls Black people who cry out for their lives extremists and has banned Critical Race Theory Studies, which examine the how our nation’s laws, institutions, and history are inherently racist. We the People can’t learn the truth if the liars in power make it impossible to discover. How do we keep fighting for equality when we have so many things and people fighting against us? Living like this is unsustainable.
I’ll be drinking a few more adult libations and preparing for the civil war the racists have been planning since 2008 because no matter who wins, the racist genie isn’t going back into the bottle. The Confederacy of American Dunces will incite violence regardless who wins the election because the snowflakes, who have no legitimate reason to be aggrieved by anything, have grievances about everything that doesn’t center them. I’m preparing for my future like I’m married to a malevolent narcissist, except my spouse is half of the country. I’ve learned I can’t trust my country, and that my country won’t protect me.
Beginning November 4, 2020, I’m not tolerating racism, but my enthusiasm for pursuing equality will probably wane a lot. Why is human decency so difficult a concept to grasp? Why does everything have to be a competition?
Black autonomy is going to be front and center for me. We’ve lived four years with ignorance, stupidity, racism, white nationalism, Covid, loss, grief, and propaganda. I’m tired. I don’t want to be around any person who possesses any characteristics that cause loss, grief, or trauma. I won’t be tolerating racist friends, and I won’t be hosting or entertaining racist strangers. Online or in person.
I’m not loving everybody anymore because everyone ain’t worthy of the love I have to give. Going forward, I’m loving up on Black people, because America has done a number on our psyches. We’ve been blamed when we shouldn’t have been. We’ve been targeted because we’re easy targets. We’ve been ignored by those responsible for protecting us. We Black folks need to work on our collective mental health because this has been a wild twelve years. A lot of us have been dealing with racism No one is going to uplift us but us. Loving Black people back to life is where I’m going from here.
I look forward to continuing to write about issues concerning Black communities and Black people, namely American descendants of enslaved people. There has been a consistent campaign to deny our agency, ignore our suffering, and use us to build others up while other groups and people tear us down. It’s time for us to have family meetings, put our collective feet down, tend to our wounds, and work to make ourselves whole again.
The next three weeks will determine what I’ll be saying, and definitely where I go from here. Until then, I’ll be coping with the fact I can’t see my father. I can’t travel. I can’t see my children or grandchildren. I can’t enjoy live music or support my favorite restaurants.
I’ll continue to be the responsible Black woman I’ve always been. I’m still going to put others’ needs before myself. I’ll wear a mask always and hibernate for the rough winter ahead. I’m planning on protesting in January, because I know this election is a generational change and cultural shift of sorts. I’m committed to local politics, local and national social justice, and Black liberation. There has to be something better than this, and I’m looking for it.
It’s going to be a cold, hard winter in quarantine, and I have to prepare for the wrath of angry white women who are angry because they weren’t elected to be the first female vice-president should the Democratic ticket get elected. God forbid an accomplished, qualified Black woman jumps to the front of the line for some power. I also have to prepare for continued racism should the current occupant of the White House be re-elected.
It’s always something in America with racism. Always.
America is dying, and I don’t know if it can be revived. Moving forward at this point, all I can muster up for the rest of 2020 is a good attitude, one-half of a rainbow, the stick of a lollipop, and all the players of Team Whoop-Ass.
The fight continues . . .