The Inauguration. The Women’s March. A world in contrast. To join the women in spirit on the day of the Women’s March, I posted a tweet on my Brown Gal Trekker account sharing an article I wrote via Huffington Post called, Diversity Needs a Voice: Will You Speak Up? Not long after that, a Twitter handle by the name, Kevin Budds, sent me a message to simply say, “Go home.”
No, Budds. I’m already home. It’s called America. I’m a naturalized U.S. citizen and a first generation Filipina American. Unless Budds is of Native American heritage (which I doubt), if I am demanded to go home, then he should impose the same exact demand of himself. But Budds displayed his ignorance and hypocrisy instead, claiming he’s home and I’m not.
I know there are decent white people out there who know their place in this country and who see themselves as equals next to other races. Curiously, in contrast, what happened to those whites like Budds who have somehow created this illusion of themselves as being first class U.S. citizens who are entitled to this country and all that’s contained therein, and exercise their right to freedom of speech by making outright racist remarks? Where did they come from? How did they evolve?
The sad truth is Budds is not a new phenomenon nor is he a product of the recent election. His kind has been around us all this time. Their presence were unknown to us because their racism was on mute for a while until recently. Thanks to their new president, they now mustered the courage to become their outlandish, ignorant and racist selves. If we rewind back to a few years, chances are posting something so harmless as advocating for diversity would have not solicited a blatant racist remark demanding that I “go home.” Racists in this country have always existed. They’re next to you at coffee shops, at work, at the shopping mall, on the streets, and even in your own family and circle of friends.
As they all come out of hiding, we owe it to ourselves to also get out of our shell and be who we are PROUDLY and let the world see us as we are ― immigrants, Asians, Latinos, Blacks, mixed race, anything and everything except being a white man like Budds who spews hate.
At this juncture, the first step is to stop denying and start accepting that in America race still matters. Race is an issue. But some of us just happen to have snoozed off that alarm way too much without successfully escaping the reality that we keep avoiding, and that is:
RACISM EXISTS AND WE HAVE WORK TO DO.
Hence, it’s time to wake up, and instead of hitting that snooze button one more time, let’s hit the STOP button once and for all, get ourselves out of the false comfort zone of our made up racism-free world, and face reality. Do the march. Contact your representatives. Run for office. Organize. Write if you’re a writer. Create if you’re an artist. Educate your friends and families, at least those who are willing to listen.
But, as to Budds on Twitter? Just wish him luck and move on. Teaching an adult to re-do his thinking about race can be a time consuming and energy draining endeavor. As part of this movement to combat the prejudices and bigotry of the new administration, we need to be mindful of where we focus our attention and energy, in that what we do must lead us closer to our agenda rather than be stuck in a dead end with some guy named Budds, who will not be persuaded to reconsider his prejudices partly due to a YUGE ego like HIS president.
Stay calm, bid Budds farewell politely, and in parting, tell him to spread love, instead of hate. You may have to keep snoozing these detractors for awhile and that’s quite alright because eventually there’s a stop to all this madness, even if it requires one snooze at a time.