If you love me but voted for Trump here’s something you should know

If you love me but voted for Trump here’s something you should know

If you love me but voted for Trump, here’s something you should know:

When I was a little girl, this is what I knew about myself: my brown skin was a life sentence; an inescapable confinement that guaranteed I would always be an outsider, inferior to the white people with whom I shared my world. My brown skin was shameful, something to be hidden. My parents’ union, I was told, was disgusting and ungodly, which meant I was that way, too. So I became the things I believed I should be: scared, ashamed, desperate, a liar. I wanted to be blonde. Light skinned like my classmates. Anything but what I was. I did not know how to be myself. I did not know how to ask for the things I needed, which didn’t really matter much because I didn’t believe I was deserving of them anyway.

Maybe you were my friend in childhood. Maybe you sat next to me in the cafeteria and became my seesaw partner on the playground. Maybe you had me over for sleepovers and we played Barbies and giggled together late into the night. Maybe you even made me feel safe and loved. But I must confess to you now, when I was a child, l could only feel safe and loved when you didn’t see the whole of me, when you allowed me to forget I was brown.

It took me a long time to realize those childhood truths were actually fallacies. It took me even longer to create new truths for myself. Longer, still, to be proud to claim all the parts of me, to feel like it was not only OK for me to be seen, it was necessary.

 

If you love me but voted for Trump, here’s something you should know:

My fears have come to pass. The unthinkable has become reality. The paranoia has set in, already I feel unsafe. It took less than two days. In less than two days I came to realize I am once again uncertain as to where or how I fit into the world. The endless stream of hate has started: reports of swastikas spray-painted in neighborhoods, people of color being told to go back where they came from, women being grabbed by their pussies (that’s the preferred word now), brown children being taunted in their classrooms, and all of these things done in the name of the person you convinced yourself was fit for the role of president.

I can hear some of you saying those stories are exaggerated, and perhaps some are, and perhaps they aren’t, that really doesn’t matter. What matters is the rumbling undercurrent of putridity has finally surfaced. I have been holding on for over a year, listening to your leader tell me how unworthy I am, how my very existence has destroyed something great within this country, that I need to be put back in my place both figuratively and literally. I naively convinced myself I shouldn’t worry too much, that together we would all come to our senses and not give power to hate.

You may read this and think I am being melodramatic. In your mind, you figured out how to make his words OK before you stepped into the voting booth. But for me, the words will never be OK. My racial identity puts me within the group of the oppressed, but it is my humanity that makes me an ally and reminds me I am not separate from anyone. I am the Jew who has discovered anti-Semitic graffiti in the community where I once felt safe. I am the woman wearing the Hijab that someone is threatening to hang me with. I am the six-year-old Mexican-American boy who is terrified that my family will be sent away. I am the elderly black woman who is despondent and hopeless in her knowledge that the KKK is about to march boldly through her streets again. I am the transgender woman who is scared to use the bathroom, and the gay man who is listening to strangers call me “faggot.”

I am a little girl, fearfully weeping, “Do they see me? Do they see I am brown?”

These stories are my stories. And they are your stories, too, but in your quest for self-preservation you have forgotten this.

 

If you love me but voted for Trump, here’s something you should know:

I want to believe you when you tell me you are not racist. I want to believe that your affection for me is genuine and pure. Right now, though, I feel suspicious and uncertain, coming to terms with the fact that maybe you did not accept my brownness, but merely overlooked it.

I understand that for you, this was about outcomes; that you yourself have been afraid and uncertain, not knowing what to make of the changes happening in our country. I understand when you cast your vote you believed you were doing what was best. You may have even told yourself you weren’t happy about supporting him but felt you had no other choice. Of course, votes cannot be undone and so now you must bear some of the responsibility for what is happening and what will happen in the future.

If I am to believe you are not the things you fear being called (racist, homophobic, misogynistic, etc.) then your complacency must stop. I need to hear you speak out against the hateful rhetoric. Make a phone call to your representatives and ask them how they are going to stop the harassment of marginalized groups. Write the man you elected and tell him to denounce the vile acts that are being committed in his name. Show me I can trust you. Show me you have my back. Show me who you are.

When you stay silent I can hear you loudest.

Follow
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook

One thought on “If you love me but voted for Trump here’s something you should know

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *