I woke up Wednesday morning to a slew of confused Facebook statuses and tweets. Most of them read something like this:
“So disappointed in my country right now. How could we let a blatant racist get so far in this election?”
Because this country is racist. I know it seems crazy, but your Facebook friend from high school isn’t the only one in the country who still calls black people monkeys and assumes all Hispanics are here illegally.
Before I get called un-American, or a hater or whatever else Trump supporters will put in the comments let me say that I love this country. I’ve grown up very fortunate and privileged to live in America and for that I am thankful. Truly. But growing up black I was taught a lot earlier than my beige complexioned friends that this country wasn’t built to protect people like me.
That is how Trump is winning in the polls.
People aren’t voting for him as a joke, they actually believe in this man. I’m just trying to figure out how it is such a shock to those who don’t want to see him elected.
America was not built to protect the people that Trump denounces. That’s why when three black Muslims were murdered, execution style, in Fort Wayne, Indiana last week the police said there was “no reason to believe this is any type of hate crime or focus because of their religion or nationality.”
It’s also why George Zimmerman has six mugshots (and counting because let’s be honest, he’s not done yet) but is free to live and Trayvon Martin is dead. And it’s definitely why mostly white men still have the power to decide what a woman does and doesn’t do with her body.
America may technically be a melting pot, but it was founded by white men, who considered people of color three-fifths of a person. Although we’ve come a long way since then, we do still refer to a Constitution that may be a tad bit out of touch.
With all that’s happened in this country to the very people that Trump disrespects, his success at the polls shouldn’t be a surprise. He’s not speaking to those of us that believe in equality and justice for all. He knows his audience hates all things that might even be considered politically correct. That’s why he pretends to not be familiar with the KKK. It’s why he keeps talking about a wall that Mexico definitely is not going to pay for, and it’s why he’s winning.
The sudden concern people have because of Trump’s approval confuses me. To me, his success is obvious. This country has been having a constant conversation about race for almost two years now. More than we have before. Trump comes in and ignores all of that. He speaks to the people who don’t believe that black and brown lives matter and for the people who think their unemployment is due to someone from Mexico coming to America and “stealing” opportunities from them.
Just because slavery is abolished and we have a black president doesn’t mean as a country we are absolved from our racist past (or our current racist tendencies). It’s ingrained in our culture. It’s called systemic racism.
I hate to be the one to break this to you all, but this country is filled with bigots and some of them have power, one of them is running for the highest elected position in the country. I can’t promise you that voting for someone else is going to ensure he doesn’t win, nor can I say whether or not someone else would do a better job, but I encourage everyone to educate themselves. Not just on the issues of this election and where the candidates stand, but on our nation’s history, systemic racism and how it manifests. A lack of education and understanding is what’s allowing this man to win states overwhelmingly.