With Trump constantly parading his MAGA slogan and anti-immigration vitriol, there is an influx of Democratic presidential candidates— all jockeying for the Democratic nomination. 2020 is fast approaching and we are starting to hear, from particular groups, “Vote Dem, no matter who is running.” This is an issue and, for most BIPOC, we are fed up with this sentiment.
White Savior Is Done
We are tired of being asked to vote for someone who is not a minority, has no experience with existing as an “other” in this country and all the trauma and hardships (from microaggressions to stop and frisk) that come with being “othered”. This is, at its core, no different than learning coding, biking, or other myriad skills.
When we are learning how to do something new, we can read about the steps but what do we usually think or say? “I’ll understand it better when I do it.” When someone is teaching us what do they say? “It’ll make more sense once you actually do it.”
Meaning — nothing replaces firsthand experience. Concepts remain nothing more than abstractions without implementation. And the largest concepts seem beautiful as an abstraction and then, when implemented in real life, a cascade of unforeseen problems emerge.
However, we do want someone who can foresee the “more”. That’s why we need someone who has experience living as a person of color.
This is a necessity and yet, despite this, many people don’t understand the importance of skin color and race.
Skin Color or Race Is a Construct —Your Point?
A lot of people say that race or skin color is a construct and as such has no value. This is at its base level true, and yet it is a gross oversimplification. That’s why we want someone who understands the depth and range of this.
We are raised different. When you visualize a heart shape, what color is the heart? Most will say red or pink because those are the colors typically associated with hearts — Valentine’s Day — and so on. Red and pink colors are the default.
Now when you visualize a person, what color are they? If you have children, as an experiment, ask them what color a heart shape is and what color a person is when they picture it in their head. Race may be a construct but white is still the default. Even though these are constructs, it does not change their real world impacts.
Time has long since been argued as a construct. Does that mean we are not controlled by time? Can we show up whenever we want to school or work? Does telling a principal or a boss that time is a construct prevent us from ramifications? As long as the majority adhere, either through active participation or silent complicity to the racial constructs laid out these constructs will always play an integral role in our lives and how we navigate this world.
Let Women Lead
As previously stated regarding race, the same can and should be applied regarding gender. We’ve had 45 presidents and, of those, 44 have been white and male, and all 45 have been male. It’s clear, given the cyclical nature in the fights for rights which were seemingly established, only to be slowly eroded over time that the presidents, their cabinets and the white male representatives are not getting it done.
Just like white people miss the nuances of racism or refuse to believe that by doing nothing they are guilty, men also miss the mark when it comes to topics about sexism, sexual assault, and all the nuances of it. It takes active analysis and combatting to address the why of certain ideas and the determination to change them.
With men leading the discussions and creating the laws, we once again have challenges to a women’s autonomy popping up in various states and stepford women aiding in the subjugation of their own.
It’s long past time that women were given the opportunity to govern at all levels, that is continuously handed to men simply because they are men.
The issue here is that because white, particularly white male is the default they to get outside of that default to effectively change anything. Simply put, if white discomfort doesn’t hinder them from enacting broad changes, male discomfort will.
Like the “ocular device” in “National Treasure” every aspect of us, gender or non-conforming, skin color and race, wealthy or poor, abled or disabled are various colored lenses that determine the way we view the world. These aren’t the sole determinants; there’s many more (ex: conservative or liberal, immigrant or native, etc.) and all push and pull within us and are also brought out of us by outside factors.
When we walk the world under our determinants, we can’t see the world the way someone governed by other determinants does. We are, in essence, blind. And when the determinants are part of the system of white patriarchal supremacy, they are powerful blind spots. We need someone who walks the world without those blind spots. Those blind spots have been the problem too long.
Bolster the people who are different from you — who are saying uncomfortable truths.
A Black transgender woman. An disabled Indigenous non-binary. A queer, Muslim immigrant. We need someone who is able to see the world as those who are “othered”, and the only ones who can see it are those who walk the world as an “other”.