Thursday, November 17, 2016

White People--If You're Feeling Awful--Good. Remember That Feeling And Keep It With You

     Not the most uplifting title, is it? You're probably thinking, "Becky, why do you want me to keep feeling awful? I don't want to feel awful." Well, I don't want to feel awful either; no one does. In truth, this post is meant to be more uplifting than the title might let on.

     First, I need to clarify. The awful feelings I'm referring to are in regards to the results of the Presidential election. If you're feeling awful about something else: I'm sorry to hear that, and I hope you feel better soon. Now, back to the results of the election. If you're not satisfied with the results and are feeling awful, or maybe horrified, sickened, sad, devastated, disgusted, disillusioned, terrified, or some brand new emotion that this election brought forth, then please read on.

     This post is mainly for those who did not vote for Donald Trump or did not support him as a candidate but were unable to vote. It's for those who are unhappy with the results. It's for those who are feeling like America is not the country we thought it was. It's also aimed at white people/people of privilege, because what I want to say applies to those folks more than others. All of that being said, anyone is welcome to read, as always. Comments are welcome. If you don't agree with me, that's totally cool, feel free to say so, but keep your comments constructive and civilized. Thanks.

     So, it's been a little over a week since Donald Trump became the President Elect of the United States (not sure if I'm capitalizing the words I'm supposed to). Many people are unhappy (understatement) with this result. Many are scared about what it means for the future of Muslims, Black people, the LGBTQ+ community, women, Latinx, people with disabilities, minorities I didn't mention, the planet, healthcare, free speech and the media, America's relationship with other countries, and so on. That's a scarily long list, and I think I may have left some things out (eek).

     What's great is that a lot of people have been coming forward and contributing--be it donating, buying newspapers, wearing safety pins, patronizing business' that have been targets of hate crimes, and etc. This is all really awesome. It's wonderful to see people coming together and cooperating. It's great to see people thinking of the bigger picture and their own lives. I hope people continue to find positive ways to help make the world a better, safer place.

    A sentiment I've heard echoed--mainly by white people--is, "Wow, America isn't what I thought it was. I can't believe we're really this racist. Things are getting so much worse," or something along those lines. I was thinking something similar. On social media, I noticed a different sentiment from a few Black people, "America was always this racist. Things have always been bad for Black people and other minorities, it's just that white people were too privileged to notice." I'm starting to realize that the latter sentiment is probably closer to reality. That's when it occurred to me that maybe something good can come out of this. Maybe white people/people of privilege will finally have theirs eyes opened to the truth. I know mine are. I want to keep them open. I want to keep seeing the country/world as it really is. If I do this, then maybe I can help fix things. If I can start looking beyond my own privilege, if I can learn to do better, then maybe other people can too. We can't fix a problem if we don't see that problem. The tactics Donald Trump used to get elected President (capitalization?) have opened so many eyes. As horrible as it is that it had to happen this way, something good can still come out of it. We just have to make it happen. We know the truth, and we have work to do.

     This is what leads me to my main message. I don't know about anyone else, but feeling this way sucks. I hate it. I hate being afraid. I hate knowing that the world is so much worse than I thought it was. I'm sure most people hate feeling this way. I very much want this feeling to go away. But here's the thing--I can't let it. I have to feel this way. This isn't me being negative. If I keep this awful feeling inside, then it will serve as a reminder that things need to be done. The time of sitting back in my privilege is over. It would be very, very easy for white people to say, "Hey, I really didn't want a Trump Presidency, but I'm white and straight and a lot of these policies I'm afraid of may not affect me." I'm not saying that the people out there protesting and donating and calling lawmakers are suddenly going to stop, but they might. It might not be next week, or a month from now, or even six months from now, but I fear that white people will stop fighting. Why? Because four years (maybe more) is a long time to fight, and because we can stop. We (white people) have the privilege of letting it go. Black people, Muslims, Latinx, and many other minority groups do not have that privilege. They can't choose to take off their safety pins, or keep their opinions to themselves. They're a target simply because of what they look like. Think about that. Just imagine what that would be like. All I can do is imagine, but the thought is horrifying.

     So, if you're someone who's currently fighting against the negativity, hate, bigotry, racism, and other crappy things--keep fighting. Remember how you feel right now. If you need a reminder, think back to how you felt on Nov. 8th. It might be a long four years, but we're not alone, and we can act. We can help others, and we can help ourselves.

     Most importantly, no matter what else you do, please vote in future elections. Vote in every election you can, not just in the presidential election. The president is one man. One very important man, yes, but still just one man. He isn't the only lawmaker. Many of these other lawmakers are voted  for during non-presidential elections. This is when we need to make our voices heard. If this election showed anything, it showed what happens when one group votes and the other doesn't. So, let's get out there and vote! And remember to keep feeling awful!

     This positive message was brought to you by Becky Munyon's brain and sentiments I've read on the internet and heard on TV.