Donald Trump speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. He won the 2016 US election stunning many media outlets who thought he had no chance of winning. GAGE SKIDMORE/FLICKR VIA CC BY-SA 2.0

Donald Trump speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. He won the 2016 U.S. presidential election, stunning many media outlets who thought he had no chance of winning. GAGE SKIDMORE/FLICKR VIA CC BY-SA 2.0

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. 

  • jimmymacs

    Sorry, I don’t feel guilty for the way I was born. I had nothing to do with that. Privilege is relative; you live with the cards you are dealt and work to improve your lot in life and those around you,like my ancestors did. They weren’t given instant “privilege” and always had to earn everything,including respect. Trying to shame people into feeling guilty for their life situations is not,in my opinion, the way to achieve societal equity. Why do so many people want to come to this country if they feel we are all a bunch of elitists here? Why not choose some other place in the world if it is more comfortable for them? Or stay where they are? Life has never been a Nirvana for almost everyone and yes,it does take time to iron out the ripples caused by immigration that happens too rapidly. The results of the presidential election was,in my opinion, a backlash of a country feeling forced into a culture change caused by overwhelming immigration NUMBERS, not by the immigrants as a people or race. Immigrants have always had to work to be accepted in new societies,thats just the way it is. If we all take care of our own little corners of the world and live by The Golden Rule, good things will happen,but it c an’t happen overnight by decree or “to do lists” of life style changes. “It takes time” is not an excuse for anything; it is a reality of the real world.

  • Ashley Barry

    Also, great job Genie! Love the suggestions, especially about divesting.

  • Ashley Barry

    @jimmymacs:disqus I don’t see how stating facts and observations is telling people how to think or feel. If you are aware of your privilege and feel guilty, here is a list of things you can do to support those more marginalized than you. If you choose not to, then live knowing you remain complicit under this new presidency that will target the most vulnerable among us. Those are your choices, she’s simply presenting them.

    Also, “it takes time” is an extremely inappropriate excuse for hatred, brutality, and denial of life-saving resources. When you enter this country, you should not be a second-hand citizen until you prove “worthy” of respect, that’s elitist and shitty in a bunch of different ways.

  • jimmymacs

    You are telling people what they should think,feel,and do,and that makes you a “supremacist” at heart. Who elected you as the “all knowing,all seeing,all deciding” head of state? Peoples thoughts and actions need to come from the heart,not from someone else’s decrees of what is justice. America is a huge amalgam of cultures,religions, etc. and therein lies the crux of potential difficulties in living happily ever after. We are a work in progress, this democracy,and there will be a lot of “backing and filling” along the way to perfect harmony. And, every nationality that has come here has had to earn the country’s respect and admiration and that takes time. It won’t be won by decree!