NOTE: I wrote this post the day after Trump was elected, but never published it, because my grandmother was murdered later that same day, and obviously this blog was nowhere in my mind. I am publishing it today, in the wake of the Nazi Charlottesville terrorism, because the actual hashtag #ThisIsNotUs was trending on Twitter yesterday. And it feels like we will never learn.
I wrote this to white women because I am a white woman, and most of my readers are women, but of course it’s relevant to all white people. And everything written here applies to me, too. We are all complicit and all responsible.
Dear fellow white women:
We have got to stop saying we are better than this. We have got to stop saying this is not our country. We have got to stop saying “this is not us.”
This is us. This is our country. And we are not better than this. In fact, people of color have been telling us this for, oh, forever, and we are only “shocked” because we have not been listening.
62% of non-college educated white women voters cast their ballots for a KKK-endorsed reality TV star who bragged about sexually assaulting women.
53% of white women voters overall went for a KKK-endorsed reality TV star who wants to ban Muslims from entering the country, close down mosques, deport Mexicans, and remove our right to a safe abortion.
This means that white women – our aunts, sisters, grandmas, cousins, friends and neighbors – are largely more invested in white supremacy than agency over their own bodies.
Meanwhile, we make happy Pantsuit Facebook groups and gleefully exclaim, “busted glass ceiling!” Well, almost.
WE CANNOT FUCKING DO THIS.
If we think we get to look away from the disaster we’ve built – that we asked for, that we lovingly coddled and massaged into being – largely by telling ourselves “this is not us,” we are worse than ever anticipated.
If we insist on believing that white supremacy is a distant problem rather than the core of our national rhetoric, we are worse than ever anticipated.
If we cling to American Exceptionalism in the face of undeniable evidence to the contrary, we are worse than ever anticipated.
And if we insist that a small minority of white people went to the polls and created this mess—that merely a fringe population is outright fucking racist—we are worse than ever anticipated.
We may not turn away. We may not blame Bernie Bros, email “scandals,” third-party voters, media, or the electoral college.
It’s all whiteness anyway.
We may not deflect blame.
OVER HALF OF US WHO VOTED SHOWED UP FOR DONALD FUCKING TRUMP.
I know. I know. You’re a “good one.” I’m a “good one.” Everyone in the Pantsuit crew is a good one. And yet.
This is definitely us.
And of course it hurts. It hurts because it’s truer than anything we’ve ever experienced. It is the moment we are faced with ourselves and cannot look away. It is the moment the stripped, hard truth is placed in our hands.
Trump is whiteness personified. He is masochistic white male mediocrity embodied. HE IS OUTRIGHT CLEAR FUCKING RACISM.
And we voted for him.
And yet still what I see is a bunch of sad people running around the internet weeping, This isn’t my country! This isn’t me!
We think we are excellent liberals. We want to be fair and true and just. But women. 53% showed up for Captain I Hate Brown People.
You know what percentage of black women voters voted for Trump?
SIX FUCKING PERCENT.
They say the truth will set you free, but first it will really piss you off. The reason it pisses us off is not simply because we are wrong, but because the truth – the great truth – sets aflame everything we thought we knew about ourselves. It uses us up and spits us out into a pile of something we never imagined could exist in us, let alone thrive at the core of our being.
Do we believe people of color now?
Do we believe our silence is compliance? Do we believe our silence is not revolutionary? Do we believe that it is only through pointed, conscientious action that we can break down the system of supremacy from which we all benefit? Do we see that watching slavery movies and feeling bad isn’t doing a goddamn thing?
Do we believe we are responsible? That we must speak? That we must call out the fifty racists in our families–oh come on. I know they’re there. Even in Portland–that we must RAISE CHILDREN WHO UNDERSTAND AMERICA WAS BUILT ON RACISM?
We are not post-racial. We have never been equal. And it is an outright delusion to convince ourselves “This is not us.”
This man was brought to power because of his white supremacy, not in spite of it.
This is a backlash of eight years of black presidency. This is a backlash against people of color rising to power. This is white America reclaiming its Empire.
This is every race-based immigration law in our history. This is Native America genocide. This is anti-miscegenation laws, the one-drop rule, and American colonization. This is white nostalgia and the rewriting of history.
This is Jim Crow after slavery. This is the prison pipeline after civil rights. This is redlining and white flight after the GI Bill of WWII.
This is exactly how America has always wanted it. HAS ALWAYS DONE IT.
Nothing could be more “us.”
We cannot run from this discomfort. We cannot hide from the dawning awareness that everything we’ve been taught about our country was a lie. We cannot soften this blow.
I choose to believe that this tragedy is not in vain, because I cannot believe otherwise. I choose to believe that this is an opportunity to finally, completely and totally rebuild a sick and broken nation.
We have let down people of color again. We have let down queer folk again. We have let down immigrants, and native peoples too. Again. We have let down women again.
But it is not “we.” Not all we.
It is us.