I’m still taken aback at how quickly people I thought I knew turned on Cory Booker. They didn’t understand the vote. They didn’t understand, mention, or (to this day) have mentioned SB 178 vs SB 188, or understand the procedures. It took a mention and BAM, I saw some of my friends go racist. Like, white acquaintances calling him an ‘Uncle Tom’ or ‘coon’ in one case. They work with kids of color, believe in equality (or at least say they do), yet, they unleashed this venom over a vote that, truly, was meaningless (at worst) and was purely symbolic (at best) since no new law would come from it. I can imagine them, chastising me for my incredulity, even perhaps mentioning the work they do. And they do, indeed, do this work. Yet, right there under the surface, that rage. All they needed was permission — and Bernie gave it to them. They’re cut from the same cloth, Bernie and Trump, and that sentence won’t win me many friends among a lot of the white people I know.
The only people I see, at present, around me doing the work, staying focused, are people of color. Mostly, still, women of color. They remind me about the 3 million, the voter disenfranchisement, we share the words and the documents about life in autocratic regimes. In a way, I’m thankful for the white acquaintances who showed me who they are with their venom and barely contained racism. It showed me who they are, too. We’re going to have strange bedfellows in the fight to come. But, at least now, I have a better eye out on who’s going to turn first. Because, for those folks? They’ll be just fine in Trump-land.
And in all things, I sincerely hope I’m wrong. I hope they weren’t turning to racism. That Trump won’t be as bad as we believe. That people of color will make gains in the coming future. I don’t want to be right about what’s coming. Who in their right mind wants to be right about a nihlistic future, and about the racism in people you know? I don’t want to be right. I’d rather be wrong. Unfortunately, all signs are pointing the other way.
Thank you for writing this piece. I apologize for using the racial slurs in my comment; I’m not smart enough to figure out how to communicate the violence in their language without using it.