For Colored Girls: Life Under Trump
Americanness is often measured in generations. My mother emigrated to the United States from Jamaica and my father (RIP, Daddy) was born and bred in North Carolina, descended from slaves (and slaveowners, as his light-skinned complexion would suggest). They met and married in New York and often joked that the only thing they ever really agreed on was me. So, using the ‘generation’ metric, that would put me somewhere between 2nd generation Jamaican-American and at least 8th generation American (assuming that my slave forefathers came on the final import prior to the 1808 end of the African slave trade). By even the most hateful, xenophobic Trumpist standard, I’m American — born and bred in the USA. Then, why do I now feel like to stranger in a foreign land?
I hate to admit it, but this past week has rocked me to core. I, along with the rest of the world, was shocked at the ascension of Donald Trump to the office of the POTUS. I spent much of this week going through the stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, acceptance, even bargaining (the morning after, I found myself being nicer than usual to the white people I came across in the supermarket — or was it that they were being nicer to me out of guilt for having voted for Trump?)
It’s a Sad Sad Situation…
Now, I find myself just plain sad. I broke into tears as my 6-month old daughter lay sleeping in my arms this evening. I feel completely vulnerable and victimized — unable to protect her or my 4-year old son from the havoc that is about to be wreaked on the country. A lifelong advocate of gun control, I even for a moment considered getting a legal firearm — as if that would help keep us safe from a conservative SCOTUS or a white nationalist presidential chief strategist or the millions of voters that put Trump in charge of the country. I find myself wondering — is this how some white people felt when Obama was elected and then re-elected? Is this what drove them to elect a man who was endorsed by the official newspaper of the KKK against all reason, morals and their own economic interests?
A full-time working mom with a husband that travels for work, I was already hanging by a thread. Last week’s election result was threatening to push me to the proverbial brink. So, seeking a respite from this surreal and maddening reality, I decided to take a break — I got a massage, let Honey take the kids for a few hours and tried to let my mind unwind to process the events of the past week…
I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
…But to no avail. Every person I saw got summed up in my mind in one of two categories — Trump voter and other. The White blues singers performing in the mall’s lovely outdoor plaza as passers-by danced in glee only served as a reminder of cultural appropriation and the marginalization of people color. Had Hillary Clinton been elected, the same performance would have been an homage to Black culture — an acknowledgment of the valuable contributions of Blacks to the landscape of American art. But with the prospect of life under President. Elect. Trump (those words are like bile in my mouth — that hyper-salivary reaction that forewarns of intense vomiting), an otherwise pretty enjoyable performance just felt like a damn slap in the face.
I know that the numerous protests and other calls to action to fight and stay strong should rally me (should — a word I despise, but I digress) and for a minute I deluded myself into believing that they did. But they don’t. Not yet, anyway. At some point they will and I’ll be fighting the good fight and putting my money where my discontented mouth is.
The one thing I’m committed to doing is not to narcotize myself through the next 4 years (never smoked weed — won’t start now; easy on the wine and the chocolate chip cookies for a while). I’m going to let myself feel this pain, this surreal otherness for as long as I need to. Until I don’t. And then? Gloves. On. (Ding!)
Hangry Black Woman here (aka, the Notorious R.U.E.) Check out our discussion of Trump and more on the Honey & Rue Podcast.