After the Presidential election, we all sat riveted to the television, watching the numbers come in determining who would be the United States president. While we voted on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, it was not until Saturday, November 7, 2020, that the official call was made that former Vice President Joe Biden was The 46th President-Elect of the United States of America. I immediately let out a yell and a deep sigh of relief!
I ran outside among the fall leaves and yelled, “It’s a good day to be in America!” Finally, the nightmarish presidency of Donald Trump was coming to an end! Daily, I woke up wondering what fresh new hell Trump had cooked up for America. I always wondered what would be the latest racist tweet and dog whistle to his base? What new policy would be enacted to make the lives of Black people a living hell? What new legislation would reinforce our knowledge that America did not want any country to give us their tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free. In fact, this was now a country where Black people were dying, saying, “I can’t breathe,” and the President defended the very people that had their feet on our necks. Trump worked tirelessly to embolden racists, and when a nation was screaming for justice, he called for law and order, supporting the military mobilizing against innocent people across the country.
As a Black woman in America, I understand this nation was built on racism; however, dealing with Trump and his Cult 45 every single day was taxing. Finally, Trump’s reign of terror was coming to an end, and for a brief moment, I allowed my soul to rejoice. A very brief moment. Because elections don’t change racism.
I faced the reality that while Joe Biden won the election, Donald Trump received over 72 million votes. President-Elect Biden received over 77 million votes (Trump:72,098.741 Biden:77,244,544). According to the Washington Post, “More Americans voted in the 2020 election than in any other in more than 100 years. Nearly 65 percent of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot — a figure that will increase as more votes are tabulated.” While Joe Biden emerged victoriously, the real winner of the 2020 Presidential Election is racism. Millions of people voted for a man that has been openly divisive, hateful, and racist. Over 70 million people disregarded Trump’s failure to warn and lead this nation during the coronavirus, which led to over 200,000 Americans’ deaths and still voted for him. Over 70 million people overlooked Trump’s desire to repeal Affordable Healthcare during a pandemic. Over 70 million people disregarded the fact that hundreds of children were separated from their parents, and Trump’s administration has no plan to reunite them. The list is endless of Trump’s desire to divide and bring down this nation, and still, over 70 million people voted for him. They overlooked everything to vote for a racist. That is the power of racism. Racists will disregard blatant wrongs, even wrongs committed against them if that means Trump will remain in power.
Trump has unleashed something in this nation that resonates with many people. In 2016 many people feigned ignorance regarding Trump and his racism. However, they have experienced the same four years many of us have. There is no more assuming that they did not know. They know. While I understand that exit polls are not comprehensive or exact, they do paint enough of a clear picture for us to understand voters’ landscape. Overwhelmingly White people (57%) supported a racist up from 54% in 2016. All the conversations we had about “the 53%” in 2016 was all for naught as this year, 55% of White women voted for Trump. White people voted in THEIR interests, and clearly, their interest is in upholding and supporting racism.
To be sure, these White people are not 70 million Ku Klux Klan members. They are not 70 million people decked out in preppy gear walking downtown streets with tiki torches. They are not 70 million people with shaved heads and swastika tattoos. That is the idea that many people need to get out of their heads. These are everyday people that you would see anywhere. They are your teachers, doctors, judges, lawyers, police officers. They are your neighbors, best friends, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles. They are your waiters, the loan officer, your mail carrier. They are everywhere. We cannot see them, but they are there living and walking among us.
I remember back in the 80’s watching a movie called They Live, a science-fiction, horror film based on the 1963 short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson, starring Roddy Piper, who plays a character named Nada. Nada discovers through wearing a unique pair of sunglasses that the ruling class are aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed, and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media. The glasses also reveal that many people are actually aliens with skull-like faces.
What Black people need in America are those sunglasses like in They Live. I wish I could put on the unique sunglasses and see who voted for Donald Trump. Who smiles in my face, all while calling me the n-word behind my back. I wish I could put on those sunglasses and see who is denying me a home loan because I am Black, who is refusing to hire me because I am a Black woman. I wish I could wear those sunglasses and see which doctor will overlook my symptoms because I am Black. I wish I could see who is secretly calling 911 on Black people for existing. Sadly those sunglasses do not exist.
They Live was a science fiction horror movie. However, what Black people are experiencing right now in this world is real. We do not know who the 70 million people are but know they exist. They walk among us. They live. And while many believe our nightmare ended with the election of Joe Biden, we know the horror of racism is merely continuing for many of us.