That awkward moment when:
I realized I was black.
The day after the election, someone I went to highschool with posted about the election. They said,
“Let’s just say, the guy I wanted won.”
Being curious about another viewpoint, I asked,
“Can I just ask what you like about his platform?”
The reply was,
“He can fix the corrupt mess in government
No matter who we voted for, society will not change because of one person. That takes the country as a whole. The specifics are lengthy and won’t change what has already been decided. I’ve posted a lot of why on my wall if you feel like browsing”
“Oh, okay! I’ll see if I can find it!”
I scrolled through and took note of the personal posts, the comments made, and the articles/images shared regarding the election. There was an early presence of support for Johnson, but it was replaced by pseudo support of Trump. I say pseudo support, because there was an overwhelming amount of anti-Hillary related material, including a personal plea (“I feel a strong desire, no, a NEED, to beg all of you: DO NOT VOTE FOR HILARY.”). I got the information that I was looking for, and tried to continue the conversation.
“From what I gather, that’s a false statement. Your back up plan won, but you would have preferred a Johnson presidency. Is that correct?”
And then, feeling like it might be taken the wrong way, I clarified my statement.
“Just to clarify, I don’t mean to sound negative. I’m seeing that a lot of people who would have preferred a third party candidate, but didn’t feel that they had a shot in hell of winning, so they voted for who they perceived to be the lesser of two evils from the two main parties.”
And then I my clarified my clarification, because I still didn’t feel 100% like it would be seen as openly as I meant it.
“To further clarify, the reason I ask is because I think there needs to be a change. I think that our right to vote should mean that we have the right to vote for the candidate that we believe in.”
“Oh god I would have preferred Johnson. But I knew he didn’t have a shot so I wanted trump over Hillary tenfold”
That was the end of the conversation. I was a bit disappointed, because I was really interested in getting the perspectives of others, especially when then they had different views than I did.
Fast forward a few days, and as I’m looking at the Facebook trending topics, I see that friend connected to a video that was shared and commented on. Figuring this was the only way I’d be able to get more information, I clicked on the comment thread.
“TBH - I’m surprised you supported trump. Pleasantly surprised.”
“For me, and I think trump too, it doesn’t matter, your sexual orientation, as long as everyone acts like decent human beings. *ahem*”
“So I’m wondering-did you support trump for his platform or because Hilary is just a liar and a murderer?”
“Thank you! This is why conservativeness is so much better!”
“I’m white but I have friends of every race and creed. Growing up in a military environment made me a well rounded and generally "tolerant" (to use the vocabulary floating around these days) and I learned from my Christian parents to love everyone. So being called a racist, xenophobic misogynist (wtf I’m a woman how can I be?!) is offensive and wrong.”
“Having to stay quiet because of your political views is just as oppressive as we are being accused of.”
I found the conversation I was looking for, the one that was expressive and full of openness.
Fast forward to today, and as I’m going through some old mementos to create an inspiration station, I find pictures of my graduating class. It took all of two seconds for me to realize that I was the only black girl in that group of 31. A few minutes later, I realized that during my two years at that school, there were only three black staff members, and all of them were coaches (one was also the nurse). Things started making sense to me. Things from highschool, things from the time in between, and things like that conversation (or lack of conversation).
In my eyes, I am bi-racial with dual nationality. I grew with my African American family in the United States, and I grew with my Caucasian family in the United Kingdom. I have two passports, speak with a mixed accent, and spell in both US and UK English. I am a mix of my dad’s chocolate skin and my mum’s wonder bread. I have never been either or, I have always been in-between, paying respects to both sides of my family tree.
But today I realized I am black. I have been black. And I will always be black.
Both the person I went to highschool with and the unknown person were mid-20s, white, and Republican.