Trump’s platform is fear-inducing, especially for those with non-dominant identities in this country (for example, people other than cisgendered, heterosexual white males). A short list includes: undocumented immigrants and Muslims fear being deported, Black people fear the police being more empowered to kill us, victims of sexual assault fear coming forward, women fear a rapidly lowering glass ceiling, disabled people fear they may not be recognized as human and mocked, and let’s not even start on Pence’s beliefs on conversion therapy and its implications for the LGBTQ+ community. We also recognize that fear maintains the status quo, because being afraid can be paralyzing, and paralysis leads to inaction. We choose action over fear.
We are four friends. Three of us are Black women with a podcast called HellaBlackHellaSeattle, and we use our platform to deliberately create community and highlight people of color who often go unnoticed in a very white city. As the fourth, I am a white woman dedicated to guiding white people in understanding the profoundly oppressive impact of white privilege in people’s everyday lives. Our relationships began over twenty years ago, we love each other, and our collective goal is to make this world a better, more inclusive place, even in the face of the impending Trump presidency. Again, we choose action.
We have identified four necessary steps to moving forward and harnessing our individual and collective agency in order to stay on course towards an equitable landscape.
1. Harness your Power and Agency.
People of Color: We are strong. We deserve equality. We need to continue to build ourselves up despite being pushed down.
white people: We are powerful. We have the strongest voice in the nation, and need to use that social and political currency to ignite equality. Hoarding our privilege is a malevolent Gollum move, and who wants to look that bad? He never found happiness.
Collectively: We must unite and bring our best and bravest selves. We can’t do this alone in self-segregated groups despite the habit of doing so. We must form a critical mass to make equity relevant.
2. Recognize how you Contributed to This.
People of Color: All you people that thought you didn’t have a voice? Hi. Maybe you bought into your vote not counting, or the idea that your voice isn’t valued in this country. It is, but not when it’s a whisper. If you think that your struggle is individual, you are playing into Trump’s game of divide and conquer.
white people: Despite our best liberal intentions, we were socialized in a prejudiced world. This means that much of our actions, however subconscious, are biased against non-white people. This doesn’t make us evil, it is not our individual faults that we have learned the falsehood that we are more deserving of humanity than others. That said, our responsibility is to interrupt and recognize when our actions are congruent with Trump’s hateful thinking even when we’re wearing a safety pin.
Collectively: We need to make some noise together. We can’t bunker down in our separate social justice causes anymore. The “I’m looking out for me and mine” outlook has led to the genocide of indigenous people, slavery, the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps, the violent deportation of deserving immigrants, violence against women, mass incarnation, police brutality, and the list goes on. Thanks to Trump, we can see our commonality in the struggle. Black Lives Matter is women’s rights― is indigenous rights―is LGBTQ+ rights, you get the idea. Each of our movements deserves respect, physical and psychological safety, access, visibility, and freedom. We need a collective movement.
3. Speak Up. Speak Simply.
Be honest, someone’s got to be uncomfortable. If you’re uncomfortable as you are championing justice, that’s okay, that’s better than not speaking up and beating yourself up about it afterwards. Don’t hide behind crotchety jargon that confuses others about your beliefs. That’s divisive. Speak simply, and speak your truth.
4. Cultivate Conversations and Community.
People of Color: Many of us no longer have communities or spaces to come together to celebrate our culture, connect, and interact with each other. We have instead created a virtual community where we can share our thoughts and views with other POC . That needs to be extended into real life, no longer will we hide behind our virtual personas as we have to begin to have these tough conversations face to face.
white People: It’s vital we spend time with other whites to build a community of resistance. White affinity groups are spaces where we can explore the impacts of white privilege on our communities and start to take ownership for our own role in change making. These are spaces where we do not burden POC with our white guilt, but instead, we hold each other accountable. They can be a powerful platform to unpack our power-laden identities, and consider the implications of those identities in the Trump nation, calling for action.
Collectively: We must listen to each other. We must trust each other. We can not one-up each other. We are all in this. It’s been said before but it’s worth saying again until we fully realize, that we must be the change. Let’s spark the flame and continue to feed it. There can be no separate piece to truly find collective peace.