No one can deny that this election has been a horror story. But does the monster most resemble the cobbled together creation of Frankenstein or the riled-up intolerance of the villagers?
No matter who wins this election, the darkest facets of human beings have awoken. Fear feeds anger. Anger compels detestable actions to be condoned and encouraged. Churches and mosques are burned, children are beaten, and mistruths are peddled in slogan-able mantras such that they permeate minds and leave no room for reasonable thought. If you do think differently, repercussions are promised.
For many Caucasians, the vile exhibited these past months are surprising, even shocking.
For People of Color and those of disenfranchised groups, we don’t see anything unusual. We don’t see this as some monster that has suddenly crept out of the shadows. It has never been a figment of our imagination. While there are those of us who may not have experienced overt attacks or violent beatings, whether we care to admit it or not, we’ve been on the receiving end of White Power. The knowledge and acknowledgment of its existence has permeated our lives and our actions. For us, the monster has never been asleep.
We don’t spend much time wondering why, for instance, a white person talked over us, holding our end of the conversation in such disregard. Or why we were scoffed at or looked at with an up-and-down glare. No matter how much space in our brain we’ve allowed it, the thought that we may be overcharged or not hired or poisoned because of who we are not has more precedence in our brain activity than trying to figure out why a white person did this or that.
For white people, perhaps now they see what we’ve always known to exist. Perhaps they’ll have insight on why we may not keep eye contact or seem guarded. Maybe they’ll know, because of these past months, just a little more of what it’s like to live in our shoes.
“Ken Choy Hates White People”
This is the point in the article where a reader might say, “Wow, he’s using ‘white’ and ‘People of Color’ a lot. He must hate white people.” I do not hate Caucasians . I do not categorize all Caucasians into those who have been swept up into the pro-Trump madness. I do not believe that all Caucasians condone or participate in conduct that demeans or injures another person.
I do believe that every human being has the capacity to prey on another because of her differences.
I do not hate people. I hate that people choose to be led by that human facet.
Alive and Well
Just two days ago, I overheard a whispered conversation between my neighbors who live in houses that sandwich mine. It involved musings about my various unpacked “crates” that I have and an observation that I’ve been parking in my garage instead of my driveway which made it difficult to discern whether I was home or not. The conversation included references and hypotheses of my differences: my sexual orientation, my race, my financial state. And of vows to ‘not hesitate’ should I not be seen in a couple days. My time’s not going to be spent trying to figure out what part of me prompted the conversation. It’s going to be spent changing my locks and reprogramming my garage openers and securing my shit.
But again, this is nothing new for me. Much like Trump, an artist has blanketed the internet saying I am racist for calling attention to his stereotypical images. He then tried to blackmail me into removing my critiques. Much like Trump, a decade ago in Hermosa Beach, some dude shouted out, “Faggot,” but then made an addendum: “Oriental Faggot.” (I guess he wanted to make sure Caucasian gays weren’t offended.) Much like Trump, in the 90s, instead of debating political issues of racism in entertainment, a CEO pivoted the discourse to personal attacks and contacted my funders imploring them to cast me off because of my political actions, actions that had nothing to do with my fellowships.
My food has been poisoned. I have been verbally and physically accosted. I’ve been followed around the store more times than I can count. But all this is not new for me or for most People of Color. It has been in a constant in our life.
What this election has done is given credence to this behavior, this hatred of the Other, and the deplorable actions arising out of that. “Muskets.” “Bullet in the head.” “Execute her.” These aren’t coming from crazy voices from the fringe. These blatant encouragements of executions of foes, no matter how despicable the person ie believed to be, are coming from the mainstream, from elected officials and from one who aspires to reside in the White House.
We are the Monsters
But you’re not one of those whose eyes have been suddenly opened. And you’re one who rejects that despicable behavior. And hatred doesn’t reside in you. That’s great. But instead of debating, let’s admit that we’re all capable of being monsters. What matters is that we not let the darkness within rise and rule us.
Up until the end of November 8, we do have the power to stop those who have embraced their monstrous side.
Should the nation reject the horrifying tide of darkness, we can then continue to reaffirm America’s story as a positive one.
Opinions expressed are those of the author and does not necessarily represent Wide Lantern as a whole.