On “Woke” White People Advertising their Shock that Racism just won a Presidency
Courtney Parker West

I felt one way, which I’ll explain in a second, when I read this article, and came to the comments to voice my opinion. Then I read the other comments and felt obligated to say this: Anyone in these comments claiming to be an “ally,” and “on our side,” but wrote that this article was “stupid” “divisive” “alienating” or “offensive” has no idea what it means to be an ally to people of color. While I don’t agree with Courtney's sentiments, to claim that her opinion is alienating only means your convictions weren’t strong enough in the first place. And to everyone who wants to nitpick because Trump isn’t only a racist, but a sexist and a misogynist — “so I do have the right to be shocked”, that’s not what this article is about. Black women are fed up with being labeled divisive when our opinions differ from white women. This is a dialogue not a monologue baby and as double minorities, guess what? Sometimes we’ve got other shit to talk about! You are only proving the writer’s point! Stop white-feminist-splaining to us in 2017.

Now on to my response about this article…

I’ve heard many people of color discuss their lack of shock over Trump becoming President. So much so that it’s forced me to do some soul-searching. “Am I not woke?” As a black woman and HBCU grad, I didn’t think that was possible, but I sat their just like the white characters in Dave Chappelle’s SNL skit as I watched the election results roll in. I was shocked. Don’t get me wrong in retrospect I can definitely identify with Chris Rock and Chappelle’s characters, but I would be lying if I said that was my reaction that night.

I started to wonder had I gotten too comfortable in my uber-liberal New York City bubble. So I sought counsel. I spoke to one of the most radical men I know when it comes to issues of race. The only man whose opinion I trusted to tell me that, yes I should turn in my black card because I suffer from a an acute case of unwokeness. I talked to my father, a 67-year-old black man, a man who was 6 when segregation legally ended. As a boy he was released from school an hour early with all the other black students, so they wouldn’t get “beat up” by the white students. A black man who’d lived through the civil rights movement — through the Montgomery bus boycotts, King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, the LA race riots and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. My father, an ardent participant in the Black Panther movement, said he felt like he’d “been gut-punched.”

I don’t think the outcry comes from a lack of awareness that racism exists. We all know/knew that. What we didn’t know is that the majority of Americans felt this way. That is the slap in the face. That’s where the feeling of being gut-punched comes from, I thought these people were the minority. I thought we could fit them into a deplorable basket and sail them over the Atlantic to Britain to live with the Brexit voters. We believed that the whole of America was good (or trying really hard), and that as a nation we weren’t perfect but we were on the right path. These racists, sexists, xenophobes and homophobes, in my mind, were the dregs of society, not the majority. Not the resounding voice of our nation. How can we continue to call them extremists when they prevailed in getting a man who embodies all of the terrible things they believe in to the white house? There are plenty of people of color who are shocked by this and I don’t think we can condemn our white counterparts for feeling this way either.

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