The Truth about my election reaction

TW for fucking everything.

Shannon Barber
Nov 12, 2016 · 8 min read

A lot of people I know have asked me about my feelings right now.

Before I get all the way into it, I want to preface my remarks with a few things. First of all, I say none of this with glee or pleasure. Second, I’m going to keep it absolutely 100 with y’all because I feel the need for naked honesty. If after reading any of this, your instinct is to tell me I’m wrong or whatever don’t bother. I’ve heard it before. If you want to call me a crybaby that’s fine. That said, if your comments run in that vein, take it to your own space because I’m not having it.

Okay, let’s go.

I want to start with an analogy so we don’t have to have ALL the hard stuff involved right away.

Let’s pretend that you and I and some other folks live on the same cul de sac and we have for a long time. One night, say four years ago I knocked on your door at a reasonable hour and this happened:

Me: Hey there neighborino, you’ve got a smoldering fire thing over here and I think you should probably have a look at it cause, you know fire and whatnot.

You: I don’t see anything, you’re making it up. Go home, you’re causing problems.

Me: Uh, okay.

Later on, I went to our other neighbor.

Me: Hey, they have a fire type situation over there. Keep your eye out.

Them: Um….sure keep me out of it.

A while later, there’s actual flames.

Me: HEY, yo, there’s an actual fire there. Actual fire. Deal with it. This is unsafe.


Fast forward and half of your house is on fire.

I’m hosing my yard and some of our neighbors are hosing their yards and some folks are standing around looking confused. The fire department may or may not come.


Me: I tried to tell you. So, fuck you and your fucking house?

You: You are worse than the fire!

Me: Sure, okay.


So, if you caught on the fire is our current situation and the mother fucker is like the first time watching that movie Backdraft and the wall of flames is all WHOOSH OH SHIT FUCK YOUR STUFF and I’m not quite safe but I’m in a place where I feel kinda okay.

Half of me wants to do this while doing a stupid dance:



Well, here’s the thing. In the US Black people have been talking about, protesting, writing about, crying about, screaming about the legitimate dangers of White supremacy not just for us but for our entire country. From the slaves who learned to read and write, those who told the stories and wore the damage on their flesh to the kids a lot of y’all call stupid and ignorant while they march fists up saying, Hands up don’t shoot or Black lives matter.

We have been warning you. I personally have been doing this work in one way or another for more than half of my life.

When Martin Luther King Jr, whom a lot of y’all are quoting AGAIN out of context and without thought, blocked traffic and caused delays and his people got assaulted, we told you.

When the Little Rock Nine brought their city to a stop just going to school we told you.

When Emmett Till was beaten to death and hung, we told you.

When Billie Holiday sang Strange Fruit, we sang it to you.

When your fave suffragettes called for our death, we told you.

When we had to fight and go to war to simply not be chattel, we told you.

When we survived post Confederacy racism, we told you.

When we survived Jim Crow, we told you.

When we send our most educated, most acceptable to Whiteness people to the government we are telling you.

When we have to watch on Facebook live, our own be murdered we are telling you.

You didn’t listen.

When I spent years trying to talk to feminists about the rotten core of racism in the movement, most of my work regardless of my tone, or what or how I’ve said, hey White surpremacy is bad mmmkay, the fucking house is on fire, White people have fought me.

Everything from blaming me and other Black folks who talk for racism still existing, I’ve gotten threats that people (yes women included) would track down my dayjob bosses and get me fired, people have threatened to doxx me, to rape me, to murder me. I’ve been called, emailed, fb messaged etc. No matter what approach I’ve taken.

And those in particular stung because feminism is for all of us right? No.

In the past ten years alone, I’ve been jumping up and down, yelling, pointing that the mother fucking HOUSE IS ON FIRE.

People say, oh that’s not racism. No White privilege doesn’t exist, well if you Blacks would just etc. I’ve had to watch people I’ve known since I was a child explain to me why it is totally not really racist when they repost things that compare Black people or President Obama to apes/monkeys, how when I talked about racist things that happened to me, folks explained to me how racist it isn’t in Seattle, they didn’t mean it that way, etc.


I’ve spent thousands of words explaining, cajoling, begging, educating, yelling, crying, and doing the real dirty work of anti racism because I knew the house was on fire the first time I got called a nigger bitch when I was about 5.

I have waded through the LGBT+ and feminist and whatever rah rah platitudes and been excluded for making the point that a.) rah rah is great but work needs to get done and b.) being marginalized along one axis doesn’t negate privilege. I’ve waded through explaining to people why trying to play Oppression Olypics is a stone walling tactic and gets nothing done.

I’m almost 40 and I’ve finally stopped allowing myself to do how not to be a racist 101 and get real grimy and real about shit because I’ve been afraid for years.

During this election cycle, I’ve kept my own council for the most part. Voting HRC or being on her side was one of the hardest ugliest decisions of my life. I anxiety vomited trying to reconcile being so hurt and scared by HRC’s super predator comment in ’96 because I was in that age range and in her magnificently dog whistle fashion, the kid she was talking about. The after effects of the Clinton policies ruined the lives forever of people I love.

I was scared then and have been scared this whole cycle.

I’ve been horrified. When it started, I told people I know that this would happen.

I knew because I’ve always known the depth of the evil that is White Supremacy. When I was a baby potato, laughing nervously when classmates made racial remarks or going home and stress shitting my brains out because I heard what other kids said during our civil rights lessons, I knew when I started reading beyond my school curriculum and learned the breadth of colonialism.

I knew when I was 17 and desperate to speak to somebody because I felt that representation in our new history books was awful.

I knew when a friend was called a nigger by another student and it was no big deal right?

I knew when I sat sweating and shaking in job interviews where White women would lean in and tell me how delighted they were to meet such a “well spoken” Black person and OH GOSH I didn’t even imagine you’d be Black….

The mother fucking house is on fire.

When I decided in my early 20s that college was not for me for lots of reasons, I did some social justice work. I was almost always the only Black person and I knew then.

When I started writing about social justice, and trying to be the Nice Negress leading White folks to the promised land with gentle words and lots of effort to not show a temper, or impatience or hurt or frustration or any humanity, I knew.

Now- we’re here.

Shit is fucked up.

I’m not surprised because this is how America functions. It runs on, thrives on and will destroy itself for White Supremacy.

White Supremacy is so important to maintaining the American Way, white people who are totally not racist or islamaphobic will vote against their own interests because, White Supremacy has some cracks in it.

That’s what happened.

The house isn’t just on fire, it is fully engulfed and my house is lit up and your house and my neighbors house, the whole mother fucker just turned into the literal Ninth Circle of Hell.

White Supremacy is so important to America, we elected a man under investigation for rape. A man who at some point gleefully talked about sexually violating women. A man who has talked about how hot his daughter is and that he would date her. A man who has been embraced by the actual KKK. A man who will lie to his own people.

Pro- or Trump Tolerant people are saying that folks like me are sore losers. We’re cry babies! Respect our PRESIDENT.

They didn’t respect President Barack Obama. They relied on racism and though subjectively a lot of things were improved, I still am seeing people hurl racial epithets at him, but that’s respectful right?

People have told me that I should give the however majority of White people who voted Trump a chance. They can’t all be violent racists bent on creating terror everywhere they go. No they are worse.

They are complacent.

They are by their inaction and hand holding and bible quoting, supporting the KKK. They are supporting the deaths of my friends. They are united to make my Muslim friends afraid to leave their houses. They are supporting children, babies too afraid to go to school because they are Brown and have been told by White children that they will get deported.

The house is an inferno.

And how do I feel?

I’ve known since the first time I heard the word nigger used in hate towards me, that America doesn’t love me. I knew as a genderqueer person, while I heard people make AIDS jokes and talk about gay men etc, that America doesn’t love me. When I had to close comments on a cat video because you could see my hand and a number of people got bored and left DIE NIGGER BITCH comments on my video I knew America doesn’t love me.

I know America wants me dead.

I know America wants my friends dead.

I’m not shocked. I’m angry.

I’m not even angry at Donald Trump because he’s ridiculous and honestly fuck that guy.

I’m angry at you. Everyone of you who has ever argued with me about anything to do with racism. I’m angry at feminists who cannot understand or acknowledge that feminism has had and will continue to have a racism problem until it is dealt with.

I’m angry at the people who’ve told me to calm down all these years. Who’ve disblieved. Who’ve blamed me for exposing the problems and thus somehow making them real.

I’m angry because people I love are so afraid they are contemplating suicide. I’m angry because my friends, my chosen family are scared for me.

I’m scared because I don’t know what will happen to my friends and loved ones. I’m scared what the poor White people will do when Uncle Trump doesn’t fulfill their promises. I’m scared of my own reaction when and if someone decides that I’m their target.

And most of all I’m exhausted.

But there is still that part of me, that wants to get a bottle of Jack, a lawn chair and a supply of cigarettes so I can watch it all burned down because we tried to tell you the house was on fire and you didn’t listen.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store