"I think there is something horrifically dehumanizing about saying that the way to reach someone who has denied your humanity is to understand them."
— Bim Adewunmi
So. My last column was right-ish: Hillary Rodham Clinton, the most qualified person—woman or man—to ever run for the most important office in the world, won in a landslide. But thanks to white people in general and white women in particular, we have put a racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, narcissistic sociopath in the White House.
Journalists and pundits who brought us here with their 18 months of fair-and-balanced coverage are busy hammering out "thought" pieces on what went wrong.
On Nov. 9, they started contorting themselves to make the false equivalencies they so adored during the torturous campaign, changing narratives to soften and obscure truth. By which I mean obliterate it: The New York Times referred to Steve Bannon, the next president's Chief Strategist, as a "nationalist," instead of a white supremacist, which is what he is. And the Washington Post questioned, "Is Steve Bannon really as bad as all that?" The Fourth Estate has been looted of its finery.
Personally, my Jew DNA was on fire as soon as the prez-elect shut out the media. This should set off alarm bells for anyone who knows anything about history.
Monday morning quarterbacking is pointless. We are here and we cannot undo. The time to undo was on Nov. 8. The reality is that most people absolutely do not want to face the plain-ass fact that this was about racism. Straight up. People who voted for the Monster-in-Chief decided that racism was not a deal breaker. And that makes them racist. Period. There is no need to dive into the polls and analyze what "we" missed and where "we" went wrong. We do not need to be empathetic toward those who voted for racism; particularly people of color and other marginalized groups do not have to find empathy. That's an insult. No, the need is to be goddamned fucking honest with who we are as a society and where that has taken us.
Here is where we are: A Muslim woman in a hijab was attacked and robbed at San Diego State University the day after the election by two white men using the name of their next president. Two days after the election, a 14-year-old black boy in St. Louis suffered third-degree burns on his arm and buttocks after a white teen racist attacked him using a glue gun. In Brooklyn, a white racist, who loves his new president so much, returned to a restaurant where he'd just eaten and punched a woman in the face after overhearing her express her dismay at the outcome of the election.
The list goes on. Between Nov. 9 and Nov. 14, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recorded 437 reports of hateful intimidation and harassment. Keep in mind that his number only represents those that were reported.
Racism has always been here, even as so many refuse to admit it. Only now, white supremacy has been legitimized. Known and documented white supremacists such as Steve Bannon and Sen. Jeff Sessions have been invited into the room where it happens.
The majority of voters like myself, who rejected the hate at the center of the Republican candidate's campaign, can feel sad and struggle to get out of bed and find ourselves brought to tears day after day, enjoying a smidgen of what it feels like to be marginalized in America.
But we must have our meltdowns in the privacy of our own homes and in our white-friend circles because ain't nobody feeling sorry for us.
So feel all the ways you need to feel about this bullshit, but do something. Do. Something.
Call the House Oversight Committee (202-225-5074) and ask for a bipartisan review of the president-elect's financials and apparent conflict of interest.
Call Mitch McConnell (270-781-1673), Paul Ryan (262-637-0510) and your senators to demand that they reject white supremacists as part of the 45th president's cabinet. Then follow that up with hand-written letters.
When you read that a child was physically or verbally attacked in school or on a school bus, find the phone number to that school and the district and call to express your outrage. Share that information on your Facebook page and ask friends to call.
Write a letter to the editor once a week. Correct coded language, half-truths, lies and propaganda.
Listen to people of color. Shaun King, Luvvie Ajayi, Deray Mckesson, Jamelle Bouie, Baratunde Thurston, Roxanne Gay, Charles Blow. Check out This Week In Blackness, Black Girl Dangerous, Very Smart Brothas, The Read and Another Round.
Report hate crimes to the SPLC. If you see something, stop and disrupt. Download the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) app to record incidents and automatically transmit video to the ACLU.
Spend money wisely. Support black- and brown-owned businesses. Be really bold and join the Injustice Boycott.
Rather than buying gifts this holiday season, make donations in honor of your friends and family. Donate to Standing Rock, the Flint Child Health & Development Fund, the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Disability Rights Network and Planned Parenthood (focus donations directly to red state offices).
Talk. Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Talk to your coworkers. Talk to strangers. Don't let any racist comment or joke slide. Ever.
Don't expect gold stars and fanfare. Just do the work. It is time to choose a side. It's past time to choose a side.