An Open Letter To College-Educated Liberal White Men

11/28/2016 11:14 am ET Updated Nov 28, 2016
<strong>Jenny Holzer</strong><em>Untitled (Men Don&#39;t Protect You Anymore)</em>
Public domain
Jenny HolzerUntitled (Men Don't Protect You Anymore)

Dear College-Educated Liberal White Men,

Fear does not become you, so I understand. That is why you tell me that everything will be alright, nothing will actually happen. When I fear the Muslim registry, you tell me to stop freaking out. When I fear the total reversal of my rights as a woman, you tell me to stop being so paranoid. When I fear my position in America as an immigrant, you tell me to calm down. When I fear living in this country, you tell me to stick around. When I fear the rise of white nationalism, the men standing tall on our ground saluting Nazis, you tell me everything will be alright.

My perspective, my Muslim female immigrant perspective is a bit different than your’s, your liberal white American-born, American-bred. I say “terrified”, you say “hopeful.” What is the total infringement upon my civil liberties is “troubling” to you. I say “but this is our reality,” you say “I don’t think so.” You explain things to me, but you don’t ask me to speak. When I stand up, you tell me to sit down, I’m wrong. I say “people of color,” you say “is that all you can talk about?” What I say has happened before, history repeats itself, you call “jumping to conclusions.” When I speak out, you silence me.

Dear College-Educated Liberal White Men,

I cannot give Donald Trump a chance. I cannot believe that Donald Trump does not mean what he says. I cannot accept that he will not be able to enact his threats, that Sessions, Higbie, Spencer, Bannon, Pence won’t really be able to do anything, but I understand that my perspective is difficult for you to comprehend. After all, you are the silent benefactors of white supremacy. You compliantly live on the land stolen for you. You compliantly accept your rights that precede all others. Historically, you have never been persecuted for your race, your religion, your sexual orientation. Your rights have been bestowed upon you. The conservative white men you loathe have maintained the order of things in your favor. You are caustically “casually” racist because of your privileged, stature. You are systematically sexist because you have never struggled for what is yours; you are empowered. You cannot conceive the actualities of the other because you have never been. Your right to be who you are has never been in jeopardy. So perhaps it is a bit difficult for you to understand why I am afraid.

Dear College-Educated Liberal White Men,

You may have taken a women’s studies class in freshman year and majored in the theology of pan-Africanism, your best friend might be Asian and your girlfriend a feminist, you may protest in marches and rally for immigrants, but you are the reason we are here today, your deafening, problematic silence, your compliance in the white supremacy that has divided America today. You are an immense part of the problem. You have done nothing to make us feel safe. Instead of spewing your elitist pseudo-intellectual theorems on why everything will be alright at us, go home. Go home and make everything alright. Go back to your South, your mid-West, your conservative Red states, your white suburban communities you congratulate yourself on escaping. Face the fear you have been so elegantly hiding from behind a mask of elite liberalism. Educate your people, not me.

You said it would never come to this, but now here we are, Donald Trump as our 45th president-elect, and now again you tell me that nothing will actually happen. So I think it’s best if you sit down, shut up and start taking notes.

Best regards,

Tasnim

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