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Welcome to America. | A Reflection on President Trump’s inauguration, kind of.

Before I begin, I must apologize. The title is a bit misleading.

“Reflect. Reflect.” How do I reflect on something that has brought about no immediate change for my life? Or even worse, how do I accept that the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald John Trump, for me, does not signify any kind of change or transition here in this country?

How come? How can I, a 23-year-old, African-American woman, sit here and proclaim that the presence of a man that has been “elected” to the highest position in the land—as the pungent fumes of bigotry still linger in the air—leaves me feeling that there has been no real change, no real turn of the tide?

We’re talking about a time in America that my children will learn about in their history books, yet, holds very little historical relevance for my tomorrow. Maybe it’s because I am a black woman in America.

I feel no immediate threat by Donald Trump’s position. Perhaps what is the most upsetting and elicits the most significant emotional response from me is the fact that so many are suddenly so “uncomfortable” in this country. I’m not sure what country they have been living in, but, again, the inauguration of Donald Trump marks no significant change in my life.

Alas, I have to write something, so I’ve opted to sum up my feelings surrounding Trump’s inauguration in one single word. “Uncomfortable,” seems to be it.

Trump’s inauguration was a bust, as more Americans spent the day deploring him than celebrating him. As much as I want to love that the #WomensMarch was a thing, it was the epitome of white privilege in this country.

Day in and day out, minorities and poor people are treated like second class citizens, time after time reminded that their lives don’t matter: extrajudicial killings that lead to empty court proceedings and no convictions, assaults on women of color that earn the culprit a slap on the wrist, and contaminated water flowing through a largely minority populated city since 2014.

Did you cringe reading any of that? Did it, I don’t know, perhaps make you uncomfortable?

Donald Trump was elected by white women. White women. It’s great that majority white women and a few women of color came together to protest Donald Trump and his war on women, but it just goes to show how comfy many in this country have been sitting that they’re now, finally, so uncomfortable.

Ok. So, the march was an opportunity for unity. Yet, many were upset with women of color wearing both of their hats. How nice it must have been for others to march as just a woman.

If we can agree that women have it hard in this country, then how on earth could you not understand that her circumstances are elevated if she is a woman of color, especially for African American, Hispanic and Native American women? While white women are going out of their minds that Trump and Republicans are concerned with their vaginas, access to quality healthcare has long been inadequate for many of us. And don’t let her identify as an LGBTQ/nonconforming woman; her/their plight is never ending.

How dare you expect her to just wear one hat? She doesn’t get to sit at the table as a just a woman. In every situation her skin tone will wear a historical context that she cannot shed; she will always be a black woman. But her strife, her long journey as the most neglected human species on the planet doesn’t cause you to bat an eye, yet now that Donald Trump is in office, thanks to your margin of votes (53%), you’re uncomfortable?

Ok. So, “the march was an opportunity for unity. The fight starts now!” The fight starts now for whom? We have been in and ongoing war long before Trump was ever the topic of discussion.

News flash, you’ve been living in a country that was built on the backs of oppression and continues to thrive on the nourishment of the tears of black and brown and poor people from sea to shining sea. How are you now just so uncomfortable?

 

Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (nymag.com)

And while I believe that the idea that people of privilege are so ignorant and removed from issues in this country is not a true reflection of any entire group, nor will I sit here and pretend that every victory has not been won through working together, the eruption of sudden outrage across this country has just left me, I don’t know… Uncomfortable.

I’m uncomfortable every day that across the country close to 600,000 people are homeless, right now. I’m uncomfortable that the war is raging for the 15,000 to 40,000 Somali refugees living in Columbus alone, as religious persecution continues to tear families apart and divide this country. I’m uncomfortable that the unemployment rate for African Americans in this country is double the rate for whites, even though we account for much less of the population. Why haven’t the generations of pain inflicted on black and brown and poor people not prompted you to flood the streets with inspiration, and fight!?

It’s not Trump who is ruffling my feathers. It’s the people who act as if America has not been a scary place for many in this country for so long. And while I consider any forward motion a positive step in the right direction, it makes me wonder. We’re not really concerned with the plight of black and brown and poor people in America.

What if Trump stepped down? What if he was impeached? What if he was no longer a threat? What would you do? Would you consider your privilege restored to it’s comfortable state? Could you then afford to go on about your life, never again having to rally for human rights?

While I certainly sympathize with those who have felt personally attacked by Trump, especially as a black woman, I see so many similarities in what he’s saying and America’s newfound uncomfortability. Because, yeah, Trump sucks, but he’s simply a magnifying glass on the values and traditions that this country has held so dear since the Mayflower set sail.

Maybe you should be uncomfortable. But are you afraid that Trump will make America great again, or that it will be much more of the same, except now you’ve got a struggle?

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