Dedicated to everyone who despises long articles regarding this subject.
“Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist!”
If I had a shot for every time I heard this since election night, I would be on the waitlist for a liver transplant. Hell, even Jon Stewart echoed this sentiment, and it’s essentially dividing what’s left of the Democratic Party.
My response to this is simple: we need to rethinking racism.
We need to start acknowledging its existence. People who identify as white have been shown to think that racism is no longer a concern. We essentially live in a colorblind, racism-denying era in which laws no longer explicitly target groups of people. Yet novels, dissertations, college classes, and published studies prove what underserved populations have been saying for years: it’s far from over.
We also need to reframe it. Sure, not all Trump supporters use racial slurs, call Mexicans rapists, or attack a woman wearing a hijab. But witnessing an act of racism, being in a position to say something, and doing nothing…that is an act of racism. The people in the JCPenny video staying silent, the people on the airplane shouting “Bye!” at Muslims removed for speaking Arabic, the people at Fruitvale station remaining silent while police assault a black man for playing music on the train…this list is endless. And that is where the issue lies.
Trump wasn’t elected because of active racism, he rose to power because of indifference toward racism. Voters were willing to overlook his xenophobic-fueled policies for a promise of change. That willingness and that agreement to put others at risk for their own benefit is racism. Indifference towards racism is complying with racism. It is an act of racism by itself.
Our institutions encourage indifference. In third-grade, trying to break apart a fight resulted in suspension. Even my own parents encouraged me to “stay out of trouble” and turn a blind eye. Yet in an age in which hate crimes are rising and social media can potentially hold people accountable, indifference is no longer an option. Stop being a bystander and stand up for people. The risk of embarrassment and shame is nothing compared to the safety of another human being.
Anyways, my two cents. Let’s hope we can follow through for the next four years….