The content of this blog post is solely my personal views.
In the last 2-years, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to 10-countries, from Africa to Asia, from Asia to Europe. But never, have I been more conscious of my race than when I am in America. In Italy, locals stared at my skin color, enamored. In Spain, two women were overjoyed upon hearing I was from New York. In Paris, I was told that I was “Tres Bouge” or bougie as we call it. In London, I was just among the crowd of other diverse locals and tourists enjoying the city. Not once, having to wear the burden of my blackness on my sleeve, but in America, I am not bougie or a sophisticated New Yorker first, I am black, the “disadvantaged” race, the one whose ancestors were slaves and hung from trees. And I am wary of what the next 4-years during a Trump Presidency will bring.
They’ve already started. “Go back to Africa” they chant. “Nigger” they say, without shame anymore, because the leader of the free world used his campaign to incite hate and bigotry. He made fun of a disabled reporter, he vilified Muslims and he said we needed a wall for Mexico because their immigrants are criminals and rapists. He called us “The African Americans” and asked us “What do you have to lose?” only making it more apparent he would never be in touch with us as a people. “Sir, we have a lot to lose with you because you don’t get it” I replied back to the TV screen, my voice unheard. But to make matters worse, his treatment of women came out to the press like a whirlwind and eventually, it was just dusted under the rug. No one cared that he sexually harassed and assaulted women, exclaiming “just grab them by the…” too explicit for my blog. As women we are already dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace at record numbers, will having a President who partakes in this behavior only make our situation worse? And after listing all of the wrongdoings of this man, on Tuesday November 8, 2016, a day I will never forget, we made Donald Trump the President of the United States. Yep, America voted and their voice was heard.
My friend asked me “Will you give him a chance?” I was initially insulted by the question. She had to feel as angry, as uncertain, and as betrayed as me…didn’t she? Did they ever give Obama a chance? They made his life a living hell. They told him No before he could present a new idea or legislation, they wanted nothing to do with the success of an African American president, it was bad enough “The African American” was in office. The republicans never went on TV saying, “Give Obama a chance” did they? They couldn’t allow a man with his skin color to be successful because it might open doors for more like him in the coming years. I’ll never forget during Obama’s first State of the Union address, Congressman Joe Wilson, screamed out “You lie” literally calling him a liar in front of all of America, discrediting him, discrediting his power, using his white privilege to disrespect the President of the United States, because even though he had the highest title in America he was still black and the whole ordeal for lack of a better word was unprecedented. But they did it and continued to do it. Denying gun laws after the fatal mass shooting of Sandy Hook first graders, calling him a lame duck, discrediting ObamaCare, literally shutting down congress while Ted Cruise, the filibuster, read Green Eggs & Ham. I remember watching the ordeal and losing brain cells simultaneously. And, Mr. Trump, saying nasty things about President Obama from day one, including an outlandish campaign questioning his citizenship. I will never, ever forget the sacrifice that Obama made for this country despite all of the push back he received and how many people wanted to see him fail. So a question like “Will you give Trump a chance?” is almost insulting. My friend proceeded to say “Trump is God’s child too.”
One of the only things I will say that I agree with Mr. Trump during his post-election attacks on Hillary Clinton was that she didn’t campaign in the right states. On Election Day, I was filled with pride and tears, as I watched the swarms of Brooklyn locals line up to vote. We would have our first woman president; our daughters would never think it was not possible for them –hooray! It was a proud moment because I felt like America was finally progressing forward, leaving behind its stained past. It was a temporary feeling though and eventually, I had to confront the loss of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. First, I blamed myself. Maybe I could’ve done more. Maybe I could’ve campaigned more. Maybe just maybe I could’ve been more involved. But we were comfortable. No one saw a Trump win coming not even him. Hillary was more qualified. She had more experience. She was the better candidate, but for some reason, she didn’t connect with a lot of people. So Trump was right, she didn’t campaign hard enough in the right states. I think her team got comfortable. They just knew they would win the same states that Obama had won, but Obama’s charisma and personal popularity won him those critical swing states. Hillary greatly suffered in the character area. People really didn’t like nor trust her. Clinton also put her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, which I understood was a cool thing, but in my opinion a bad choice. New Yorkers are going to vote democrat regardless, Hillary you needed to be in those states that were complaining from hell to high waters about how isolated they felt by Washington. Another mistake she made was Tim Kane. Tim Kane is a really nice guy, really, I like him, but he wasn’t revolutionary enough. People complained that a vote for Hillary meant a vote for the elite Washington establishment and she knew this. Tim Kane represented that too. Not the elite part, but the typical white male part. She needed a woman as her Vice President, or better yet, she needed Bernie Sanders! Again, they played it too safe, and so she lost. A terrible upset, to a man who wasn’t even close to her political and intellectual level and was well aware of that too.
Since we are talking about women, I want to finally address first ladies. In my lifetime, before Michelle, there was Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush. Hillary always seemed like she had her own political ambitions, which was very commendable to me and Laura seemed like a nice woman. But I didn’t connect with any of them as much as I did, Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama was the best first lady to date in my opinion. She was classy, down to earth, intelligent, and just a dignified and integral woman. Ivy-league educated, I remember when I first saw her brown skin on a cover of Ebony and was proud that President Obama chose her, relieved and proud that she looked like me. I know that shouldn’t matter but it did. While in office, I remember being initially disappointed in her campaign Lets Move. Obesity and a healthy lifestyle…who cares? Wasn’t she going to do stuff for us women? But then as if it were overnight, eating healthy became the thing to do, and soon I was thanking her for her initiatives because I became a victim of the freshman 15 while at Penn State. Michelle rapped about the importance of getting an education, she went on talk shows and danced, she brought the who’s who to the White House, and it felt good to see people, my age, people that looked like me, doing their thing and meeting the first family. She loved the veterans and their families, that’s one of the times you would get an emotional reaction from her. She also eventually started Let Girls Learn and Reach Higher, promoting education domestically and around the world. In the midst of all she had going on, she was “Mom-in-Chief” as she called her self, raising two beautiful and amazing daughters. I am protective of Michelle Obama. I love her as if I know her and I still get a little angry that our upcoming first lady stole her speech. The whole ordeal was unreal. Only in America can a Caucasian first lady plagiarize the speech of an African American first lady and it disappears from the media mill after 3-days. But if it was the other way around, I shudder to think if that black first lady and her husband’s campaign would’ve ever seen the light of day…AGAIN. Only in America could Michelle Obama be attacked for wearing a dress that exposed her arms while our upcoming first lady posed nude for a magazine. I have literally seen Melania Trump exposed, but we’re ignoring that too. Privilege is real and I don’t want anyone to forget how hurtful this is to our community. The playing field is not equal according to your race and we still have a lot of work to do.
Now, it would be remiss, if I were making it seem like other countries are more progressive than America because that’s not the case either. Each and every country has its issues and each country has its “disadvantaged race or tribe” but in America, it feels like race is one of the biggest problems to date. We choose to ignore the elephant in the room and it seems like race will be a bigger problem during the Trump Era as well.
However, despite everything going on, I am not afraid. I am not hopeful either. But I know that being idle is no longer an option. We, who are against what’s going on, need to get out there and lobby on Washington, find our nearest elected official’s office and ask, how can we serve? We all seem to be waiting for our next leader to save us when our next leader is both you and I. We are in control of our destiny and we need to start taking ownership of our political futures. Also, we need to pray, really hard, because only God can control what’s happening.