Today I came across a post by a former colleague of mine about comments being made by those opposing the outcome of the elections. She’s an incredibly considerate, witty and sweet individual, and I state this because I want it to be clear I choose my friends in the absence of their color and in the presence of their character.
She is a white, 20-something-year-old professional. Her post was basically a testimony of how she felt offended and believed it was wrong that people have been labeling her as a racist because she didn’t vote for either Obama or Trump. She goes on to say how she still loves everyone regardless of their race or beliefs, doesn’t think it’s fair that she’s been labeled as “privileged” because she didn’t choose to be born white, and hurt that throughout this process she’s been labeled as a racist.
Well, I agree you are not a racist.
You are an irresponsible, privileged, white 20-something-year-old American woman.
1. Not voting for Obama.
I don’t believe that makes anyone a racist. Your political views did not align with Obama’s so you didn’t vote for him. Okay, fine.
However, the political climate and agenda of both campaigns (2008 and 2012) were completely different from what we’ve just witnessed over the past year. Campaigns that were run by Mitt Romney and John McCain were examples of candidates who had views that opposed Barack Obama, and they had a great deal of people who provided them support and went to the polls to vote for them.
In the event that Obama would’ve won or lost, the traumatic impact on communities and individuals that we’re witnessing today would’ve never taken place. Yes, people would’ve been mad, a couple of petty/angry memes here and there but we would’ve done what we always do for the past 44 presidential elections and sadly for this one too, come together as a nation and keep moving forward.
Even as a die-hard Obama fan, there have been several times within the past eight years my views don’t match his policies and actions. However, the thought of waking up to a world with Mitt Romney, John McCain or Barack Obama did not bring the fear and anxiety I’ve seen throughout this nation within the past 72 hours.
2. Not voting for Trump.
It seems so hard for people to wrap their head around the fact that this election was never about Hillary v. Trump. The minute that Trump decided to run a campaign based on misogyny, homophobia, bigotry, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and rape culture, the opportunity to evaluate these candidates on their actual plans went out the window. I wanted Bernie (I even applauded the third party candidates) to be on that ballot Nov. 8. I will always feel the burn; however, when the time came for me to take a stand against hatred I did and I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. I felt it was imperative to do the most that I could to ensure that no one would have to live in a world fearful of their future due to things or factors about their identity that they can’t even change.
So you not voting speak volumes about the individual that you are. Your inability to see past Hillary vs. Trump and take a look at the ideologies Trump ran on, show how irresponsible you were when it came to your right to vote.
But this too does not make you a racist.
3. Yes, you are privileged.
Just like you never chose to be born white, I never chose to be born black. Unlike you, in the face of challenges I have to encounter sometimes on a daily basis not just as a black person, but a Black Muslim woman living in a post 9/11 and now Trump presidency America, I don’t let that stop me from advocating for some sort of common good.
I vote every election cycle because too many of my ancestors have died, shed blood, sweat, and tears on this very soil so that I can have the privilege to cast a vote. Democracy is a compromise. We go through these processes and check and balances because at the end of the day we’re seeking sort of resolution. It is never perfect but it is something that is tangible and we know we can work through till the next voting cycle.
I pity that fact that you cannot recognize your privilege, because if you could maybe you would better understand how to use privilege as a way to stand with all these individuals that you love, not on the sidelines holding up your “I STILL LOVE YOU” sign.
In a perfect utopia, it would be great if you could be born without any obligations to society based on the color of your skin. That would make a lot of things easier. Just like you’re sick and tired of apologizing for being white, I’m sick and tired of apologizing for being Muslim.
However, unlike you I make sure that I use the privilege that I do have and vote for a candidate that I feel would put in place plans and policies to better address extremist who threaten the very livelihood of people who don’t share their ideologies about the world.
You fail to see that this nation was built upon genocide, slavery, rape, human trafficking, and theft of the highest form. You fail to see that your skin grants you passages to things in life that my people have only been allowed to envision within the past 60 years.
So yes, you are still very much privileged, not racist but privileged.
4. You will always love all people of all races and backgrounds.
Well good for you. I’m so over people “loving” people. How about we start actively loving people? How about we stand alongside those who are facing discrimination and injustice instead of on the sidelines with our great big “I LOVE YOU” poster.
The intention of this piece was not to shame or belittle you. It was to open your eyes to the issue that is so much more than you being called racist.
I’ll continue to love you too friend, and keep on using my privilege to defend yours.