I’m at a loss on how to even begin this post. I’ll start by saying I was sick to my stomach when I woke up and saw that Donald Trump had won. Now please do not twist my words into my saying that I’m a devout Hillary Clinton supporter because I’m not, truthfully I believe neither was fit for presidency and I’d rather have seen Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders in there. The difference however, is that Trump is going after quality of life where Clinton aimed to continue to operate corporate America in a corrupt and pay to play fashion (as it has been since the days of trusts and monopolies btw), yes both are grossly wrong, both make them wholly inadequate to serve America.
The issue with Trump though is his radically right wing, anti-everyone who doesn’t look like him views. His past transgressions aside (I’m sure all have moments we wish we could take back) he does not understand the magnitude of the importance of the programs and resources he wants to take away from Americans. He doesn’t understand the dynamic of the society that corporate America, his America, has created for people who do not have the luxury of a silver spoon. If you were born into an affluent middle class and higher family you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about and stare at me in bewilderment over why I’m writing this Op-Ed, well let me tell you why.
Last night as the polls came to a close and I like many Americans watched in horror as it became apparent that he was going to win, I saw several in fact maybe half a dozen tweets that read “I hope the white people are happy” or “We need to blame the real source, white people” or “It must be a great day to be white” and things of that effect. Aside from the clear stereotyping issue there, I hope that the world knows not every single Caucasian person is like Donald Trump, or happy that he won, not every Caucasian person voted for him and not all of us are part of that illusive one percent.
I don’t aspire to be apart of an ignorant and entitled class of Americans, I don’t seek to associate myself with people who are so far out of touch with the reality of everyday America that they think taking away resources that are in place to compensate for a divide they created, is okay. I am not “white America” though at one time maybe I was and wasn’t aware until I stepped out into the real world and met people who had no idea what it was like to be raised how I was. Now I’m not saying that I’m ungrateful for my upbringing, I’m not, I’m incredibly blessed to come from a household where both my parents did not have to work and where we could afford vacations and back to school shopping, eating out and being driven to school but I’m also aware that I live in a world where that is not the case for everyone.
I don’t pretend that I’m entitled to these luxuries because they are not mine. The luxury my family enjoys is essentially a family heirloom, a result of my grandparents and great grandparents building from a plot of land in the early 1900’s. But the take away is, not every family not every American has had the chance to build that long, some American’s are only enjoying their right to vote, go to school and BE FREE for less than a century.
If you can honestly sit there and say that racism, sexism, homophobia and social division doesn’t exist then I invite you to visit a public school OUTSIDE of your neighborhood, visit a college like mine, an urban commuter school where more than half of the student body, including myself, relies on financial aid to get their degree. There are schools in New York City where families can’t afford to wash clothes, or can only afford one school uniform and rely on programs like TANF and SNAP to help make ends meet. Why do they rely on these programs? Because we’ve created a caste system an illusive club where who you know matters more than what you know and you have to fit a mold to make it past the glass ceiling.
We live in a society that tells you what you need to make it but argues over giving people the resources to get it. They say you need a 4-year degree to get a job, yet they want to take money away from FAFSA and make it harder to get. If the average American makes 52k and rent is on average 24k then you’ve cut my income in half and that “affordable” 3,600$ tuition is now out of reach to me and I don’t pursue higher education, instead I pursue a second job to keep my kid fed. You cannot break the rungs on a ladder and tell people their prize is at the top, it doesn’t work and it never has.
I attend a CUNY school where by statistic I am the minority, I’m one of very few female Caucasian students, my counter parts attend schools like Hunter, John Jay and Baruch but I am happiest here. I share my major with three amazing women, all of color, and they are more than qualified in their respective specialties, maybe more so than I am. It saddens me though that they have to look this broken system in the face and that it stares back with eyes cast downward. It’s despicable that they struggle to be given a fair shot at opportunities that are supposed to be for everyone.
It is fundamentally harder as a woman to get a seat at the table, double that level of difficulty when you’re a woman of color. So when Donald Trump refers to urban communities as “ghettos” and calls women names he is reinforcing hateful dialogue that has dated back centuries. He isn’t the first hateful human being and he wont be the last but he’s supposed to be the leader of the free word and he’s merely the leader of the 1%, so where do the rest of us stand?
If you’re like me you stand in fear, you stand in limbo and you stand in utter dismay and sorrow that this man won. You stand fearful of the fact that this man might take away my right to my body, my right to birth control, my ability to see doctors and my ability to go to school. He unrealistically casts people into groups without knowing that they are trying to get to a better place, albeit there are people who misuse the system but the majority don’t. If you’re like me you fear for the future of America, you fear for women you fear for the people who need the help, the people of color who are again, faced with a glaring loss under the label “democracy”.