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Thank you, Donald Trump

I was knee deep in a women’s march that was by everyone’s estimation mostly white. A lot of white women were in the streets, with signs, pink pussy hats, and a look of determination on their faces. My thoughts couldn’t help but go to a place I did not want to go – where were they when …? Where were these women when a twelve-year-old child was gunned down in a playground by police officers after being dispatched and told that it could be a toy gun the child was holding? Where were these women, when one of their own, a 28-year-old woman, was stopped for a minor traffic violation, thrown in jail where she mysteriously died? Where were these white women when a father of six children and three grandchildren was killed in front of a convenience store by a police officer? 

Where were they when I was standing, my four-year-old son on my hip, with other mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and children in front of the New Orleans courthouse steps to rally for the 17-year-old, another son killed in this country for being Black?

Yesterday, the Lying King and his Merry Men signed a ban keeping anyone of Muslim faith from entering the United States. I marched with white women who had signs that read, “You May Not Be a Racist, But You Elected One.” Thank you, Donald Trump, for bringing white women into the streets, for taking this country’s dirty laundry and draping it across the clotheslines that run North to South, East to West, in our backyards, from sea to shining sea. Thank you. 

A young white girl, no more than 10 years old, marching held a sign that said “The Future is Female.” Thank you, Donald Trump for showing white women and white girls the sexism writ large on your and your all white male administration’s faces. After all, it was white women who elected you into office. 

An older white woman marching held a sign that said, “Respect my Existence or Expect Resistance.” Thank you, Donald Trump, for demonstrating that while Obama may have passed a federal law allowing same-sex marriage in this country, no non-heterosexual person in this country is safe, and if you’re Black and gay, forgetaboutit. 

A twenty-something-year-old white woman in a pink knit pussy hat held a sign that said, “We Shall Overcomb,” taking a page from the Civil Rights Marches of the 60’s. Thank you, Donald Trump, for saying you are going to build a wall between us and Mexico, because some white women have not been paying attention to immigration and the militarization of our borders and who we value as a society and who we teach our children not to value. 

A white woman in her thirties held a potent sign, a drawing of a pink and purple uterus that said, “This Machine Kills Fascists.” Thank you, Donald Trump, for exposing unchecked capitalism’s other face, fascism, to a bunch of white women that have benefitted from the status quo that keeps them from piercing the thin veil that divides those who have from those who have not in this country. As New York Times columnist, Charles Blow said, “The women who entered the voting booth and pulled the lever for Donald Trump had to do a lot of compartmentalizing.” Thank you, Donald Trump for unpacking. 

And to my white Jewish women who came out to march with other white women. The Jewish women who have grown up following matzo crumbs from table to bima and who say NEVER AGAIN rotely every spring at their seder tables: Thank you, Donald Trump, for reminding the Jewish ladies in this country that they are only white as long as every one else believes they are. 

Most of all, thank you, Donald Trump, for giving my son a concrete example of why we march. He knows because he knows who you are that he needs to show up, rally and rail, protest, and do what comes naturally to him – challenge every thing that does not make sense in this world. Thank you, Donald Trump, for not making any sense.

+ - 4 comments

January 31, 2017 - 4:05 am

Rachel - Thanks for your comment. I’ve tried to look at this a number of different ways. What if I had not adopted an African American child, what if we had not entered this twilight zone that first began with hashtag deaths of our sons and daughters, what if this country had not elected a glaring racist? I keep finding myself in the same place, I’m the white mother of a Black son. I said a few years ago that I was prepared to meet people where they are at, even if where they are at is not where it is at, and I continue to say this. You talk about white silence, I write about white silence and my complicity in it. We have a common enemy now – the Lying King and his Merry Men – I’d like to believe that whatever got us to this point where we are all standing up, showing up, and speaking up for each other – whatever it took us to get here, is irrelevant. We’re here and we may not have known for a time what we wanted, but we’ve bonded together on what we don’t want.

Thank you for being who you are and for using your own truth, your reality to speak up. You are strong and brave, and we need you now more than ever to tell us what you know.

Lots of love, Rachel

January 31, 2017 - 1:49 am

Michelle - I think being a white woman I can speak from my perspective as to what is happening from my point of view, not for all of course. I feel thwarted. I’m scared to share my thoughts and feelings. I cry every time I read another story of a person dying in my city of Chicago. I cry when I see the loved ones of those being shot down on the streets or mysteriously killed in jails. I’m right there. But for me my voice is stuck in my throat. It goes back to when I was brought up, like many of my fellow white women. “Be good.” “Keep your mouth shut.” You are not a good wife if you are not the wind behind his wings. Don’t speak up at the dinner table when your father-in-law is on a rant about “Those people.” Those people can be any shape or form that he has felt wronged him.

From my research, I have found that of course white women didn’t have the right to vote until even after black men. Although, we know the black man’s vote wasn’t a free vote for a very long time, white men thought very little of an educated women. Some white women’s voices were stifled by the fist of their husbands and it was accepted. My first marriage was almost 25 years ago and was one of those such relationships.

In my family, the quieter and more cooperative women are held on a pedestal. Don’t cause waves. Don’t cry. Don’t think. Don’t be competitive. In other words, Trump lives in many of our families.

Training has a lot to do with our actions. All people’s actions. Sadly, it does not reflect what is in our hearts. The Women’s March gave us permission to be “Nasty”, the name marchers gave themselves after hearing Trump label yet another woman with a voice.

I can’t speak for all white women. As with anything group, 1 person does not speak for all, but I can say for myself, my daughters and my inner circle, we just needed the strength of each other to pull each other up. Black women to us have the most amazing voices. We sure could use your strength to teach us how to find our voice. I think you would be amazed.

January 30, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Rachel - Tracey – I’m guilty too. Until I saw through my son’s eyes, I was complicit in ignorance and holding up the status quo. Welcome to the march for all, sister.

January 30, 2017 - 4:43 pm

Tracey Wehunt - We are here now! I apologize for those who weren’t outraged for the murders committed by some officers of the law.I do understand your outrage and disappointment for our lack of outrage but we are here NOW! Please accept us….we come in peace.

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