Monday, November 14, 2016

Beyond Black & White: Breaking Down the Election in 5 Points

*Due to the the unique polarization of this election and how so many marginalized members of my community and readers are adversely affected I've decided to write this post.*

Oppression is beyond black and white - there are levels to this.
What happened last week was a symptom of something that's bigger than party lines, and I've spent the days since attempting to sort it all out. I keep coming back to our basic needs as humans and what motivates us. I've appreciated the thoughtful posts immediately following the election regarding what a vote for a hate-monger stands for, but I'm thinking beyond that.

1) The Significance of 2043

What we are experiencing on a macro level are the dying gasps of those who are fearful of the inevitable demographic changes coming to our country. For what's happening in the U.S. I found this helpful in understanding how we got here - note this is dated May 2016:

2) There May Be Hope in the Stats but Apathy, Marginalization and the Education Gap are Real

Looking at the data we know about 45% of eligible voters didn't vote, and of the 55% who did the two major party candidates split them nearly evenly with Clinton slightly edging out her opponent, one who ran his campaign built on a pillars of racism, misogyny and xenophobia:

I've been having a lot of thoughts about that 45% though. I wonder who they are and perhaps what kept them from voting. I know marginalization drove people to go to the polls who may not have participated in past elections, so much so that some were able to look past issues that would also marginalize their fellow citizens on a human rights level. I also know that based on the two major candidates and general sentiments about our voting process, apathy definitely had a part to play. 

And while I'm not a member of any political party, I found a semblance of hope in the younger voting demographic:

Via: Eliza Byard on Twitter

From an educational perspective, I suggest spending time with Pew Research data - it's not about Monday morning quarterbacking; instead this is about preparing for the future: 

"Among whites, Trump won an overwhelming share of those without a college degree; and among white college graduates – a group that many identified as key for a potential Clinton victory – Trump outperformed Clinton by a narrow 4-point margin." - Source: Pew Research November 9, 2016

Now for the most debated topic: the support that black women vs. white women had for Hillary Clinton; 94% vs. 53%, respectively:
I had to sit with this for days, and I'm still unpacking this. Stockholm Syndrome was the first thing that came to mind which Luvvie echoed in her commentary:

"When you've learned patriarchy so well that you learned to hate women even though you're a woman." 

Sit. On. That. 

This is heavy and there are so many levels to this - more than I'm willing to cover in this space.

I also understand the trepidation that black men had for Hillary Clinton leaving 13% of them to vote for her opponent.

4) Emotional vs. Rational Thinking

There is a real emotional component to the election on both sides. This cannot be dismissed, and while I remained stoic throughout the election night watch party it wasn't until my 6 year old Nia woke up the day after the election and cried uncontrollably over the results that I lost it. While I know this was important to show her that it's OK to express emotion, we also reassured her that the president is not a king and that we ultimately, would do our best to protect her. 

The important aspect of emotion for me is that I believe it spurs action. Pain points were hit and that's what spurred people to go to the polls on both sides. This cannot be denied. We also shouldn't be dismissive of people's emotional reaction to the election especially the fear that many marginalized groups are feeling. This also goes for people who keep telling people to trust in God.  

5) Now We Strategize  

This is the part I'm at working on now. I believe there has to be a short, mid and long-term action plan. There are several resources that are starting to be compiled and in the short-term, I'm focused immediately on my family bouncing back from this. Someone tried to tell me I should shield my children from politics. Nope! Unfortunately, I don't have that luxury. I have a very smart, black, 6 year old, and I would rather I educate her and keep ahead of someone who may call her the N-word or she overhear something that concerns her. I'm pre-empting that on an age appropriate level. 

Local community involvement is next on my list, and while I feel somewhat insulated now living in Massachusetts, I can't just think about "my 4 and no more." Yes, it's a start, but I have to think beyond that.

In this space, I'm also working on creating a round-up of resources for parents of all backgrounds who want to surround their children with positive role-models to reinforce and build their self-esteem to counter what is about to enter the White House. I was always confident in my children seeing and hearing President and First Lady Obama, and I intend to continue to curate this same level of positive images for my children. Many friends and family have expressed that they would like to do the same. Unfortunately, some have confused this as slut-shaming and instead it represents a counterpoint to the hypocrisy that the current First Family had to endure. 

Long-term I'll be looking for ways to combat the apathy, marginalization and education gap I mentioned above. 

It's a lot to take on, but I'm willing to do the work. Will you join me?