They Say History Repeats Itself….

It seems hard not to write a blog post reflecting on the events of this week. Donald Trump is officially our president elect, and there’s so much that could be said about it that I don’t even know where to begin. On Tuesday night, I refused to watch the live coverage with my roommates because for some reason I just had a horrible gut feeling about the results. I went to bed early, scared of who our country would decide to put in charge. When I woke up and checked my phone the next morning, I really wasn’t surprised. A man with no political experience beat out a woman who has dedicated her life to political work; a bit discouraging to say the least. My roommates proceeded to tell me that Hillary had won the popular vote, yet Donald had won over the Electoral College. This concept didn’t make any sense to me; in a country where we the people are told our voice matters and our vote counts, it was overruled by the system. How? Nevertheless, in the moment I just accepted it, reminding myself how our system has checks and balances, and that Trump really doesn’t have a lot of power.

Except he does.  As my day went on, I kept hearing about the awful outbreak of racist, xenophobic and sexist acts that were being committed. While Trump himself wasn’t committing these acts, his campaign and victory have seemingly influenced/refueled a White Supremacist movement, where certain people now believe it is acceptable to spread their hate of various out-groups. I started to become very fearful. What kind of America was I living in? Did I wake up in an alternate universe? Have we time traveled back to the 50s/60s?

Social media was hard to handle the last few days, and I was upset at certain things I was hearing/seeing from both sides. The fears and worries of people who are more left resonated with me, but then I was also appalled to find out that our campus’s college Republicans were receiving threats, and needed Campus Safety to be parked outside of their house at night. As has been stated many times, politics is personal, and this election in particular may have been one of the most polarizing in our nation’s history.

One of the things that I think was the most upsetting to me these past few days, was when my White friends said things like “I don’t get why everyone is so upset/scared, Trump can’t even do that much.” They are failing to get the point: 1) they are white, and therefore have no reason to really worry because their privilege ensures them more safety than marginalized groups; and, 2) they don’t know what it feels like to have someone vote against your personal, human rights. Yes, Democrats have always prioritized social issues and Republicans have always prioritized the economy and foreign policy, this is not news. However, when the Republican candidate is so outwardly expressive about his hate and bias against women, people of color, people of other countries, etc. and so many people still vote for him, even if they themselves are not racist/homophobic/xenophobic, what this says to all of these minorities is “I find money more important than your safety. It’s not that I hate you, I just don’t care enough about you.” THAT is the essence White privilege.

While these election results are horrifying, I think it might be the wake-up call our country needs. It is tangible proof that aversive racism is an epidemic in our country. When this many people can rationalize their votes for a man whose beliefs oppose so many people’s basic human rights based on the fact that “he’s a business man who can help our economy,” we have failed as a people.

What are everyone else’s thoughts on how things have gone this past week? I know there’s a lot that could be said on the topic.

2 thoughts on “They Say History Repeats Itself….

  1. This post resonated with me so much. Hearing other White people’s confusion and annoyance over the sadness of the election is so frustrating to me. The issues with this election seem so blindingly obvious, that it makes it hard to have productive conversations with these people. I feel like I have to hold back from expressing my opinions at times because since it is such an emotional topic, I feel like it would turn into the other person feeling attacked instead of learning. Additionally, though, even if you are a person who prioritizes money and voted for Trump’s economic stance, then that is still problematic in itself, not only because it places social policy lower, but the actual economic policy itself that they are voting for is racist in that it benefits Whites and disadvantages people of color.

  2. I think the things we’ve talked about in class concerning the ways aversive racism plays out in ambiguous situations is relevant here. Just to be clear, I’m definitely not trying to say that whether Trump is sexist, racist, or xenophobic is ambiguous. Rather, I think it’s possible that some people looked at both Hillary’s & Trumps “job applications,” if you will, and found ways to justify to themselves voting for the sexist, racist, and xenophobic candidate (both consciously for some and unconsciously for others). I think that’s an interesting thing to consider when people say that they’re voting for him based on his economic policies, for example, even thought they condemn his racism.

What do you think? Join the conversation!