If you are white, I am speaking to you. Yes, I know Trump did not win the popular vote. As of the writing of this article, Trump is behind Hillary Clinton by over 2 million votes. It is the fault of the electoral college, an institution created to give slaveholders more say in elections, that Donald Trump is now President-elect Trump.
However, that still means 62 million people found it acceptable to vote for a man who said Mexico is sending us rapists and drug dealers, called climate change a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese, told people that the women accusing him of sexual assault were not attractive enough to be assaulted in addition to doing and saying a list of offensive and controversial things that would exceed the word limit of this article. This means that half the country is at least tacitly O.K. with these things, if they do not outright agree with them.
However, even the white people that would never think of supporting Trump, myself included, are complicit in his election. As white people born into a society built on a foundation of white supremacy, we are given certain benefits and privileges just for being white. This means, no matter how marginalized we are in other aspects (whether it be class, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, etc), we will never be oppressed or marginalized specifically because we are white. We, who sometimes think we can’t possibly be racist, especially if we do not fit the stereotype of what a “racist” is, benefit from racism everyday.
We live in a society where white people are shocked that a candidate won on a platform of racism, but are relatively silent when hundreds of unarmed black people are killed by police every year. We live in a society where liberal white people are appalled that a candidate won on a platform of misogyny, but still give awards, nominations and roles to known and alleged domestic abusers and rapists such as Charlie Sheen, Sean Penn and Johnny Depp. We also live in a society where 53 percent of white women voted for this candidate, once again proving that white women usually vote for the benefit of their race over their gender as they have many times throughout history.
But fret not, white person. If you truly want to help dismantle the systems that gave you your privileges and put the president-elect into office, there are still many things you can do.
Forget your safety pins. Be there for your marginalized friends to listen and be a shoulder to cry or scream on. Please do not try to flash your “ally” card by telling anyone who will listen that you didn’t vote for Trump. Cis white people, offer to go to the bathroom with your trans friends. Offer to walk your hijabi friends to their cars at night. Listen to marginalized, queer, trans, people of color voices in the media. Don’t watch “Inside Amy Schumer,” label yourself a feminist and call it a day. Invest your money into people of color. Buy from black-owned businesses this holiday season. Divest from companies who support Trump and banks funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. Most importantly, educate other white people, instead of relying on people of color to do it.
Stop being silent when you hear something racist, misogynistic or Islamophobic. Stop excusing your relatives for their racist comments and jokes. If more people were worried that there would be consequences for their racist or otherwise problematic behavior, instead of being sure they will be met with either support or silence from even the liberal white community, maybe less people would have felt comfortable supporting Trump. White silence will always be white complicity.