Where I’m Finding Hope

David Clapp via Getty Images

Hey America, we fucked up.

I’m tempted to say “ya’ll fucked up,” but I know better. We, as a collective nation, fucked up.

Liberals: we underestimated the power in numbers of angry white people, and we overestimated the state of progress in this country.

Trump supporters claiming “conservative values” to disguise hatred and ignorance: congratulations, an open bigot has been elected to lead our nation.

I’ve been in a mixed state of grief and denial since election night, but have also been figuring out my next steps. As someone who believes in an America void of hate and fear, I’m reevaluating what went wrong and where. Obviously, we have to do things differently. We knew ignorance was still out there, and we knew it existed in the form of harassment, discriminatory laws, a broken prison system, unequal pay, police brutality, inaccurate history textbooks, biased media narratives….okay come to think of it, we should have seen this coming🤔

So now, here we are. Needing to find change in different ways, needing to take a deeper look into how we’re living our lives if we’re going to get through the next four years and beyond without retaliating against our Trump-supporting neighbors in ways that aren’t constructive. This is about to be the ultimate test of endurance, and if we lose sight of where we’re going, we’ll be swept into a mess of bullshit.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve been looking for avenues of change, anywhere we can look to for lasting, impactful moves away from the hate and fear that got us here.

Here are all the places I’m finding hope:

  1. White people.

Yeah…this is hard. It’s easy to see white people as enemies who have historically oppressed people of color, and it’s not unwarranted to become wary of them. But there are kind, open-hearted white people out there who are also angry at what the nation has become. Especially the 43% of white women who didn’t vote for Trump, and are now threatened by his administration.

These GWP (good white people, as I call them) don’t believe in hate, and are also confused by the fear that’s consumed half the nation.

They will become your allies, and we cannot create change without them.

Who issued the Emancipation Proclamation? Abraham Lincoln, a white man. Who convinced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Lyndon B. Johnson, a white man. Who put millions of innocent people in internment camps and went on a massive murder spree against an entire cultural group of people? Also, a white man. But who stopped this white man from totally, irreversibly ruining the world? A lot of people…led by a lot of white men. And as problematic as Susan B. Anthony and other suffragettes were when it came to vocalizing support for African-Americans, white women have undoubtedly paved the way to the rights women have today.

Minorities will always continue to fight, it’s the only way many of us know how to live. But we need white people to create true change below the surface.

White people generalizing an entire religion/race/sexual orientation/gender is what got us here in the first place. I’m trying my best not to generalize them back.

2. Community.

Gather, engage, mobilize, EDUCATE.

There’s no questioning racism or misogyny or xenophobia or homophobia in our country anymore. It’s been made clear that these issues still prevail.

Now’s the time to gather with the people who feel just as passionately as you do, and move towards change.

Find people who validate you, people who amplify your voice. Find people to support, so their voices can resonate even louder.

This election has unveiled many dormant sentiments, and you may be surprised to see which one of your friends or neighbors now feel emboldened enough to support a man promoting relentless ignorance.

Find your community so you can find strength in each other.

3. Within myself.

Know your value, know your voice.

Know that you’re not alone, know that your voice matters, know that your story is valid now more than ever.

What’s your gift? Everyone has one.

A life of activism isn’t for everyone. Protesting is not the only avenue of change. There are a million other ways to create visibility for marginalized voices and communities.

What if we all incorporated an agenda of equality and acceptance into what we already do- whether you’re a server, a sales associate, filmmaker, educator, musician. Imagine if we all collectively used a little of our voice to say something meaningful- our sounds together would create waves.

Among all the bullshit, it almost feels naive to stay optimistic. Why would any marginalized person want to preach positivity while we’re living in a country that’s basically giving us a constant middle finger?

But cynicism leads to apathy. And apathy creates stagnance.

We gotta keep moving.

Find the things that matter to you- even if it’s petty! Like food. Food matters to me. Korean food to be specific. And I don’t want anyone disrespecting Korean food- it PAINS my soul when someone tells me kimchi smells like garbage. That’s like telling me my childhood smells like garbage. Rude.

How do I stop people from making insensitive comments about my food? I can open their minds to my culture.

How do I do that?

Still figuring it out. But I’m hopeful.