Let’s face it we are now living in Trump America and on day one of Trump America, I was called a “Nigger Bitch” by one of his supporters. On social media, a “friend” of mine posted a status saying “fuck Hillary, you nigger bitch!” I told him this was not okay. He was someone that I met abroad and giving him the benefit of the doubt, I assumed he was unaware that this was offensive. He then went on to call me every name in the book, including a “stupid nigger bitch” and he went on to say that now that Trump was president, blacks would be sent back to Africa. Because they were never good for anything but slavery and that Mexicans would be sent back to Mexico and that Muslims are had no place in America. I’m a rational person and I tried to reason with him and asked if he knew any black people personally, to which he replied “thank god I don’t, I feel sick when I see you people, you are all criminals, lazy and stupid with low IQ,” he said with all the grammar and spelling mistakes he could muster. I explained to him that there was no point in my arguing with him as he would never see my perspective seeing that he had bigoted views against blacks.
I know there are people out there that think like this but it bothered me because I had lived in his country for three months and he had been very kind. We had talked about the differences between his culture and mine, languages and future goals. He never expressed such views to my face. To add insult to injury a second friend had liked the incendiary comment that started this debacle. This second friend is an educated white male and I wanted to know how he could support such nonsense. I needed to let him, and people like him, know that in Trump America in order to strive for unity and bring our country together, you can’t tolerate comments like these. I want people like my second friend, to call out this kind of nonsense instead of turning a blind eye. I know it doesn’t personally affect you, but in our globalized world, it is only a matter of time before you do feel the effects of unbridled hate and ignorance.
People are entitled to believe as they believe, but there is a fine line between being uber-politically correct and just having empathy for other humans. There are a lot of people who are afraid now that a Trump Presidency is the reality. Due to his hate filled rhetoric and support of the Alt-right. But I find that having a new president won’t change the fact that people will defend their way of thinking as superior to another’s way of thinking. One man’s rationality is another man’s irrationality. It won’t keep people from looking at me and seeing my color and ethnicity before you get to know my personality or accomplishments.
I have gone through Kübler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. From the moment I got the 3am phone call from my sister in Nigeria, it seemed all hell was breaking loose in the world. I had gone to sleep hoping to have good news in the morning, my sister instead informed me that the stock markets were crashing and that President-Elect Trump was giving a victory speech. I denied it, got angry and then bargained in my own way. By morning I was depressed and didn’t go to class, but I realized that this wouldn’t accomplish anything. I was depressed because on day one of “making America great again”, I had been called stupid, a criminal, and other things that I had never been called in my life. This event has since had me grappling with issues that I have dealt with all my life. Issues centered around the fact that people see black first, ask questions later. What I mean is, society and the world for that matter, see negative stereotypes before they even get a chance to know the content of your character. Sometimes, these experiences engender the lens through which I see the world. And it makes me sad, as I feel being black bears the brunt of negative perceptions. From how people will suspect you of wrongdoing and instantly mistrust you, to thinking you will be less intelligent or underachieving. Or worse, when you do achieve it was only because of affirmative action policies.
The final stage of acceptance happened just yesterday. After talking over pros and cons of potential Trump policies with one of my friends who wanted to “break the neck” of the guy who called me names. I realized, as we should all realize, things will be okay. Another one of my friends said she is comforted by the knowing that a belief in human rights, dignity and tolerance is shared by so many. This is a unifying factor. Another friend said, take the thing that you know to be true about yourself and project that into the world. Ignorance does not deserve compassion or energy.
But the republic still stands. The only way to move forward is to have an open revolving dialogue around these issues of uncertainty, fear and ignorance. To not talk about these things creates an atmosphere where wounds simmer and fester and can become toxic to the whole of the organ. I will retract a view I expressed earlier in the week that I was disappointed in America. No, this is how we know democracy is alive and working. If Al Gore hadn’t also lost the electoral votes in the 2000 election perhaps the world would have been a better place. But then again we may never have had President Obama if we had a President Al Gore sixteen years ago. Conditions may not have warranted needing a candidate that ran on a platform of hope and change for the 2008 election.
In international relations theory, we learn that politics operate in cycles. Movements come and go, all in an attempt to show who has the most power in the international system. In the world right now, we are entering a new age of nationalist movements, we saw the first with Brexit, spurred on by xenophobia. The second, is the election of Donald Trump supported largely by an angry majority that felt it had been marginalized. This is the way of the international system folks, but only time can tell what this wave of nationalism will hold in store. And to reiterate, in America our republic still stands, one nation under God.