“It could happen, you know. He could become President.” There was so much I wanted to say but in the moment I had difficulty articulating the ideas spinning around in my brain. The thoughts I had were selfish ones as they were of my family.
I remember the image of a woman of color being pushed out of the rally, hatred spewing from the mouths of those around her who were also encouraged by this man who could be President. I saw the video of a black man sucker punched by a white man he was walking past as he was escorted out of another rally. People are feeling free to spew their hatred for people of color, to wear their racism proudly. “Donald Trump could get elected,” she said. There appears to be so many people who have felt threatened by having a black President, who feel threatened that they will soon be a minority in this country. Their blood must have been simmering just under the surface for these past eight years, allowing many to say we were in a post racial society. But then someone started fueling the fire, turned up the heat, took the lid off and gave them permission to make explicit what was always there.
“Make America Great Again.” To me that reads, take us back to a time when “we,” meaning “whites,” were a majority; to a time when a President couldn’t be black, blacks couldn’t just be somewhere, but were forcibly removed as their presence was threatening or at least suspect; to a time when there weren’t so many coming north across our borders but by boat and planes instead; to a time we could claim that people were free to exercise their religion because through our ignorance we thought most of the world was Christian.
My son will be ages 7-11 during the next Presidency. To think he could have a President who “loves the blacks” and who can’t even understand the racism implicit in that statement. He could have a President who at times condones and encourages others to violence against people with views different from their own. We already have stand your ground laws that get young black men killed without the killer having to fear reprisal. We already have racism learned and breathed over a lifetime that leads to young black men being suspected, feared and unnecessarily killed. My cute six year old at age 11 will be suspected of being years older than he is and may still want to wear a hoodie over his head. What if we have a President who stokes the fires of racism even more, whether he’s aware of it or not?
My son who will be in such formative years, trying to discover who he is and wrestling with his identity as a black son of a white woman, what will he learn from all of this? He’ll have a President who at least for a brief time pretended he didn’t know David Duke and wouldn’t condemn nor refuse his endorsement. Either Trump is an outright racist or extremely ignorant of the history of this country. Both are unacceptable.
So I’m a white mother of a black son. When someone said, “It could happen,” this is what I was thinking.
Of course, I’m also gay but then we know where Trump stands on that. I’m kind of glad he didn’t say, “I love the gays.” I don’t want his kind of love.