White people will never turn their backs on Trump
White supremacy feels way too good to give up.
A friend of mine, a brilliant black woman, broke down yesterday. After Trump’s “shithole” comment, she was doing what a lot of us do online — trying to educate racists. Her reward for that work was threatening private messages and “friends” telling her not to talk about race so much. It makes them uncomfortable.
This is what happens when we try to explain our humanity to racist white people. We’re blatantly shown they won’t ever see us as human beings. So when someone asked me when white people will turn their backs on Trump, I said never. They will never admit he’s a racist. They will never admit they’re racists. They’ll express some shock at his latest comments, then go on about their day. His words don’t affect them because our pain isn’t their pain.
White people, when black and brown folks discuss race, it’s because we are fighting to be seen and heard. It’s painful for us to see white people dismiss and diminish us because they can’t understand why we can’t “just let it go.” So I ask you… let what go? Let’s see.
The fact that even the media won’t say Trump is racist. They called his latest words “vulgar,” “obscene,” “racially tinged,” “racially insensitive.” Yes, I’ll agree they could be described with the first two terms. But “racially tinged” is a chicken-shit way of saying “racist” without having to use the word. Huffpost aptly called these euphemisms “stupidly tinged.” And thank you, The Huffington Post for calling Trump a racist when news organizations like CNN, Bloomberg and the New York Times, weren’t brave enough to do so.
His fellow Republicans will never stand up to him — not en masse. Yesterday black people watched in disbelief as this buffoon (with his white supporters looking on) signed an order making Martin Luther King Day a federal holiday. He said this after signing it:
‘Today we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter the color of our skin, or the place of our birth we are all created equal by God.’
Did he write that himself? Because that’s not what Dr. King said.
By the way, if you’re a Trump supporter or one of these white people who like to silence people of color by saying we talk about race too much, sit tomorrow out. Don’t acknowledge Martin Luther King Day. Don’t say his name. And for gawd’s sake, don’t quote any of his “I Have a Dream” speech. Educate yourself instead. Read his Letter from Birmingham Jail, where he expresses anger at how black people are treated:
It is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society…
If you’re one of those white people who like to say Dr. King would have never supported organizations like Black Lives Matter, you’re wrong. Dr. King was slowly changing his stance on how black people protested. In fact, Dr. King and Malcolm X were growing closer in ideology. While you’re at it, read the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Even though we learn almost nothing about him in school, Malcolm X is a crucial part of black history.
CNN talks about the relationship between the two men:
“In the last years of their lives, they were starting to move toward one another,” says David Howard-Pitney, who recounted the Capitol Hill meeting in his book “Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the Civil Rights Struggle of the 1950s and 1960s.”
“While Malcolm is moderating from his earlier position, King is becoming more militant,” Pitney says.
If you’re one of those white people who insist black people stick to peaceful protests, even Dr. King understood why black people were rioting:
“And I contend that the cry of ‘black power’ is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro,” King said. “I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.”
I wonder what Dr. King would say about what’s happening in this country. Of course, we’ll never know since a white racist assassinated him. Racists celebrated that tragedy just as they now celebrate a racist President. So will they ever stop supporting him? No.
How do his silent white supporters deal with him? They put their hands over their ears and close their eyes until the latest outrage passes. They’re the ones tone policing their black and brown “friends.” They’re the ones causing the worst harm by saying, “Why do you talk about race so much?” “You’re being divisive.” “You’re the one who’s racist.”
And they call themselves our friends. I learned long ago not to associate with these white people. It breaks my heart to see my black and brown friends now coming to this realization. It’s painful to discover that long-time white friends either don’t believe or don’t care that you deal with racism daily. “Just don’t worry about it.” “Ignore it.” That’s their sage advice. Here’s the thing, white people. None of us asked you how we should deal with racism. We’re asking you to fight with us. If you’re unwilling to do that, don’t call yourself a friend. Racists cannot be our friends. And make no mistake about it. That’s exactly what you are.
I know white Trump supporters are comfortable right where they are. White supremacy must feel like the softest of down pillows. It’s hard to get up when it enfolds you so lovingly. Can you change? Yes. Will you? Probably not.
So we keep fighting, knowing most of you won’t ever join us.