Most of America is celebrating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris.
Joe and Kamala successfully ran on decency, honesty, and accountability – important political and personal attributes missing over the past four years.
Joe Biden is the right man / right president for America right now.
Kamala is the right woman for right now as well, but it is Biden that is the difference maker.
Because Joe Biden is a white man who gives enough comfort to other white men and women to prevent the most racist and terrible president from getting a second term.
Biden/Harris were elected because they collected the most votes in American voting history, garnering over 74 million votes and winning by four million votes and an expected 306 electoral college votes (the safety net put in place to ensure whiteness always has power in America).
That it took historical turnout to beat the worst president ever is a sobering reality that Black people take away from this election along with a thought that is always nagging our subconscious and dampening our internal happiness:
Most white American voters hate Black people.
Let that settle in your mind for a bit before you read on.
After four indisputable years of the horrible leadership of Trump, they sided with him and gave him most of their votes – 58% of white men and 55% of white women.
Here are some 2020 presidential demographics on who voted for Joe/Kamala vs. who voted for Trump/Pence:
It is moments like now that white people will be tempted to retort: Black men -18%, Latino men- 36%, Latino women 28%, voted for Trump.
And they would be right.
And it doesn’t matter.
There will always be Black people who side with oppressors in an attempt to win favor and/or as an expression of self-hate. Black people know who those Black people are and we have dealt with them throughout our American history.
But together, Black and Latin Trump voters only amount to about 25% of Trump’s voters. Add in all other non-white races – another 9%, and now we see that 34% of Trump’s voters were the increasingly insulting term “People of Color, or POC.”
It is clear that Black people are not People of Color. We are Black. We are African-American. We will not be lumped in with people who vote against our interests.
How can America heal when the largest voting demographic – white men and women – hate Black people so much?
When white men and women accounted for 65% of Trump voters this election, despite all they saw, all the damage he has done to the economy, and despite him trampling on the laws, procedures, and norms that have defined the office of the presidency for hundreds of years, how are Black people expected to react?
Can we appeal to their religious training? Black and white Americans, after all, are mostly Christian and follow the same teachings from the same holy book.
Sadly though, we cannot. Because despite the same religion and religious beliefs, white evangelicals and born-again Christians voted for Trump, giving him a whopping and depressing 76% of their votes.
As I wrote earlier this year: Racism is more powerful than God.
A nation built with the hands of Black women and men but built for white men and women who have never acknowledged the craftsmanship that has allowed them to be among the most wealthy individuals in history.
In comes Joe Biden, a white man who embodies much of what America tells itself it is all about: Humble and honest beginnings in a single-family home. Personal tragedy. Military service. Elected office. Family addiction issues. Public service. Empathy for his fellow men and women, and his willingness to grow and learn.
Joe Biden settles softly into the minds of American self-awareness because he is the everyman American wants us all to believe most white men are like.
Joe is both the underdog and comeback kid, tropes that sit well with the American ideal who and what white men are and should be.
But Joe is an outlier, and we all know it.
White men abandoned the Democratic party in the 1960s due to Black people demanding equality and rights that were legally ours already, but which had never been actualized because of white men.
Since that time the hate has only grown, nurtured by a society white men are in charge of, and one that nurtures and coddles only them, while othering everyone else.
Witness the national cuddling and ego-protection the national television and news media did for Trump as they waited five days before announcing he had lost and Biden/Harris had beaten him in historical fashion.
They coddled him so much television announcers began wondering when they would be allowed to state the what viewers all around the world had known for days: He lost.
Then they coordinated to announce Joe had won but only after working out with Trump’s team to ensure Trump was out golfing and not watching television so as to spare his ego and feelings.
And witness the immediate articles and think pieces from mainly white men, that direct democrats to “Reach out to, listen to, and try to understand republicans.”
They want us to coddle white men at a time when white men own the most businesses, have the most jobs, get paid the most, get the lowest interest rates, inherit the most money, have the lowest taxes, are the most elected – at all levels, are on television news the most, receive lighter sentences, shoot us the most, lock us up the most, and so on and so forth, while we ask to matter and they laugh and ridicule us.
Witness that no one asked Trump or his supporters to reach out to us over the past four years. To the contrary, we were loudly told “fuck your feelings” by white men.
White men, from Trump to all the rest, live in their space of safety, in a country designed to give them every advantage from birth to death, but many wallow in aggrievance and direct their anger at the very people they have designed their society to do the most harm to: Black people.
Black people are the boogeyman, welfare queen, thug, criminal, rapist, low information voter, felon, unemployed, lazy, violent, guilty, drug addict, and oversexed people who should “Love this country or go back to Africa.”
White men and women who are our bosses, a few who are our neighbors, the ones who cheer our Black athletes and entertainers, the ones who hire and fire us, who decide to give us a home loan, and who grade our kid’s papers, do not want us anywhere near them in real life.
They wildly celebrated Trump’s racism, they attacked our marches for justice and safety from the police, they stormed city events demanding their rights to not wear a mask during a pandemic that is killing us more than anyone, and they worked harder than ever to suppress our votes, intimidate our voting lines and, when those failed, they protested to stop our votes from being counted.
And if we take a few steps back, they killed Dr. Martin Luther King, burned Obama and Michelle in effigy, and they sided with Trump who said President Obama wasn’t an American.
They sided with Trump caging brown children while their kids attend almost all-white schools, and they themselves mostly live in all-white neighborhoods. They sided with him despite him abandoning the Paris Climate Agreement. Despite him being credibly accused of rape by multiple women and young girls. Despite mishandling a pandemic that has killed over 250,000 Americans and will kill thousands more. Despite crashing the economy. Despite ignoring Russian bounties on on U.S. soldiers. Despite giving away hundreds of billions to China. Despite Muslim ban and nonexistent caravans. Despite donors in key positions, and despite money-laundering, and being over $400 million in taxes… and never having released his tax returns.
They voted for him because he is white and he sided with racists, proud boys, white nationalists, and everyone else who clearly showed their hatred for Black people.
The lame-duck president brought his hoards to the polls and told them he would give them four more years (or more!) of the same racism…and they voted for him in record numbers.
The racial carnage Donald Trump left behind cannot be healed or fixed by Black people. White people will be tempted to ask Black people to “forgive” Republicans and work to heal the nation. To move forward in brotherhood and sisterhood.
We will see the recognition that Black women – 91% voted for Biden – continuing their place as the most loyal democratic party voters – saved American democracy.
And Black women will get nothing for it. Not a salary increase to bring them on par with white men. Not better protection from police brutality. Not lower college, small business, or home loan interests rates.
And Black women will not receive reparations for birthing and raising the most powerful country in history.
Black women will get nothing for collectively doing the most to protect a country that hates them more than anyone else.
What are Black people to do with a country we love and our ancestors built but that hates us and won’t love us back?
Black people cannot fix white people’s racism. We can’t fix the blatant n-word yelling racism, and we can’t fix the subtle micro-aggressions we encounter every single day of our Black American lives.
And by the looks and votes of it for the past sixty years, white people can’t fix their racism either because they do not want to.
That is all we are left with.
Racism is a happy place for most white people and the comfort they find in racism is more powerful than religion, more powerful than empathy, patience, or love, and more powerful than hope.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are moderate democrats who work well with all wings of the Democratic Party, something that will again be needed with obstructionist GOP leaders.
They will also be required to work with the GOP to achieve aggressive policy changes that reorient government and private enterprises. Their attributes are needed right now and their inter and intra party collaboration is going to be hard and necessary work to right many of the misguided policies of the Trump administration.
As Americans we should be proud that democrats elected confident and strong leaders unafraid of the rough and tumble inner workings of policy making.
As citizens our part is equally tough and equally necessary and begs the question: How do we live together when the majority of white voters hate Black people?
The answer to that question is one that has vexed America for 400 years. And the answer is one that has eluded us for just as long.
The numbers don’t lie.
Copyright 2020 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved.
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