Part Two: Why I Am Scared As A POC

WHAT’S IN A NAME

“Where does the name of your blog come from,” they asked.

People hardly ask this question of me, but I remember I didn’t have anything else in the fridge but almond milk. I filled a mason jar up half way. I was on the interwebs and began to tilt my head back and forth like a bewildered puppy. I couldn’t tell if I was a glass half-full or glass half-empty type of person.

I started to think about messages in a bottle and romanticized the snail mail of the seas. Albeit I often get quite motion sick. I thought about how young people were craving the simpler times of their distant relatives.

When families canned their food regularly and together. When the preservation of food was necessary and vital to the winter months that followed. It dawned on me that there was an authentic, hand-made and organic time that young people keep trying to emulate. With their mason jars, DIY products and hand-made wallets. And that is how I came to use the domain Eternal Mason Jar.

AUTHENTICITY WAS USED AS A CRY FOR ATTENTION

I wanted to write content that preserved my thoughts, my dreams and hopes. A space that was natural and authentic to whoever I might be in a given moment. As a POC, I thought that authenticity meant celebrating our love and compassion for one another through our stories.

These stories I’d hoped for were to bring us together. They were stories that were to increase our understanding and mutual respect for one another. And lastly, to increase responsibility in us, and to provide for the needs of those struggling.

For this reason, when Donald Trump took the reigns in the wee hours of Tuesday’s election night, I froze. I was right about something—America was craving the authentic, but not one that is decent, or fair, or kind. The message was clear, American’s want our country restructured to one that is nationalistic and xenophobic.

One that mirrors a time where people of color could not be as vocal, or exercise their basic human rights. When America could vote for racism, misogyny and sexism because they are fearful of groups like ISIS, when I as a person of color have learned to be fearful of the American’s who voted for a man like Trump. I am not safe in this America. I am scared in this America.

Donald Trump and his campaign have manufactured what we as a country ought NOT to be. The individuals who voted for him are as processed as our food. The Trump campaign modeled its candidate and rhetoric around ideas that were authentic to how racism looked in the United States in the 50s! Let’s be clear though, people are not born racist. People are taught who has worth and who does not. And this happens in big ways and small one’s too.

POC’S LIVES DON’T SEEM TO MATTER

We as a country and we as a people have pitted races against one another for centuries. And yes, this Presidential race and the rhetoric that Trump’s voters bought into are racist. If a supporter can say that Trump ran on a platform where they didn’t agree with how he said things, then why on earth did people vote for him?

People did so because people are passive about race. I, as a mixed race American do not get that privilege. I cannot be passive about my race. It affects me everyday.

This week? It was the assumption of a guy who hit on me at a bar that I was hispanic, although I’m not. I can’t help but think about how people’s confusion about my race might make me feel more unsafe in an America where Trump is President.

Will people ask me to pick cotton? AND ask me to leave this country to build a wall? Where will the ignorance start? When or how will it stop? People across the country are already reporting and sharing the racial hate they are experiencing in Trump’s name. He hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. This is week one.

In week one, people are living out the idea that valuing one race over another is okay. They are not taking the time to get to know someone that has been identified as the other. As a result the country has managed to avoid talking about class. Particularly its impact on low-income people of color and the intersection of issues that rural, low-income white males might face. Instead low-income white males have been told to dislike people of color in the community.

Trump’s speeches and conversations reflected that blue-collared white male voices matter more right now. They are the American’s that are facing adversity that needs to be remedied is what Trump has said. They are the one’s being cheated. And then Trump asked people of color to kindly wait their turn…again.

THE FEAR FUELED THE FIRE

People who support Trump long for a time when members of their family worked hard to create, innovate and add value to the country and its economy. And the Trump campaign played on their misery. They are people who long for times of handmade, local and knowing their neighbor. So portraying the person who does not look like them, as someone who is un-neighborly is easy to do.

It is easy to convince them that this person is bad. It is easy to convince them that a person of color like myself does not belong. It is easy to say this here woman does not look, or act like you and you should be fearful. It is easy to convince people that it is not the time for that type of change (for a women POTUS). Especially when they fear change and diversity itself. Especially when no one has taught them otherwise.

The campaign message was one that threatened to blow up the system. And yet, people are convinced that the past that they long for will be restored. Despite the logic that blowing something up creates disorder that is unpredictable, and promises are unlikely to be kept. This simple logic is what scares me, because people ignored it.

Trump treated his supporters like young children out to learn a lesson. Only the lesson served was an agenda that sought to confirm their racist suspicions. These suspicions are rooted in both the fear and misery that they feel. The fear and misery that people of color feel and relate to on an emotional level quite regularly.

A fear that theoretically should unite these two groups of people but cannot do so because of America’s embedded racist ideas about the other. I am often that other. I am a POC in the room. I matter, but I am scared that come January the new Presidential administration will not think that I do.

“We live in a country where the majority agree with the “liberal” position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen”
-Michael Moore, 2016

CONTENT AND CONTEXT SHOULD HAVE MEANT EVERYTHING

Young people fighting to be their authentic and diverse selves cannot and should not be overshadowed by a man who said WHATEVER was on his mind this election. Were you to take the content and his speeches full of hate and place him in an office setting (other than Trump towers or the oval office) he’d be fired. Instead America elected him for its highest office.

He is the white, privileged male that gets bailed out BECAUSE he is white—not because he is decent, kind or innocent. He is the man who in the Presidential debates illustrated his understanding of the African Americans in the US through a tale about his experiences at a country club where black people were members. The conversation that did not happen afterward is how impactful the level of racism in this country is. So much so, that it is UNLIKELY that POC’s can be members of a country club in the first place.

In fact, according to a study released in October of this year, by the National Partnership for Women and Families, an African American woman will make 65 cents for every dollar that a white male will make. Therefore, getting to that country club as a POC is as easy as getting a hole in one at the golf course by wrinkling your nose a few times.

If Trump truly understood adversity he never once explained to me how and in what ways. And for the length and quantity of his entire emotional tirades it seems important to note that he was unable to articulate how he could relate to me (as a POC). Or that he cared about how I felt at all.

avoid-the-lava

HE HAS HIS SUPPORTERS

I thought the feelings of isolation that accompanied watching a sea of white male Trump supporters in red hats was bad enough, but after his speech things got worse. Leaders of the KKK declared their excitement for Trump’s win. Former Mayor of NYC, Rudy Giuliani compared Trump’s win to the racist Andrew Jackson who forced thousands of native people’s off of their land.

We are in a time where the North Dakota Access Pipeline has threatened to ruin trust, environmental progress and access to clean water. How can I move ahead? When as an interracial couple in 2016, my boyfriend and I have not been served by a waitress. It is moments like this where the lack of progress our country has seen has left me faithless. It feels like I’m walking on fire. Or playing an adult version of ‘avoid the lava.’

I keep panicking about what awaits outside my door. And I have experienced so many feelings of not wanting to leave my house. But I know that I must.

So who will enter out into this new scary world we’ve created with me? Where angry men think they can recreate a time that has come and gone? Where a reality television star with no experience holding any political office whatsoever can become President? Where a woman with 30 years experience, time in congress, as FLOTUS, as Secretary of State is considered unqualified? Where the quiet, racist, xenophobes are now proudly wearing their titles on their klan sheets? Where writing this post makes me fearful? When not writing it makes me sad. Who can I count on?

What is our first plan of action? And how can people of color be safe, and heard, and listen, and stand up to what will undoubtedly shift our political climate for the next century? If times are starting to look bleak, we must speak out to those who love us. Share your stories below, or email them to eternalmasonjar@gmail.com if you feel like you need a sound board, or just to get your feelings out.

Donate to a cause that speaks to you. Volunteer your time. Get out into the community and add sunshine and life to it.

For I am a person of color, and I think our President elect does not understand me. Does not care about me. And neither do many of his voters. They said so the minute they cast their vote for hate. So now we must join together to educate one another, to listen to one another, to learn from one another. I am black. I am white. I am mixed race. I will not stand for living in a racist world. I am strong.

 

For information about suicide prevention or to speak with someone confidentially, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. Both provide free, anonymous support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s