An Interracial Family in Trump's America

An Interracial Family in Trump's America
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I woke up the morning after the election feeling fear. Plenty of elections have yielded results I didn’t favor, but I’ve never woken up afraid for my family. I can’t help but think that the message this country has sent its black, Hispanic, Jewish, Muslim, and LGBTQ citizens is that they aren’t welcome. Perhaps families that look like mine don’t belong here anymore.

My survivalist instincts kicked in. I found myself wondering whether we had enough in savings if Trump tanks the economy. Would my brother, who is active duty military, be sent to war if Trump gets us embroiled in conflicts all over the globe? Could my sons be called to war if world affairs unravel? As reason began to prevail, I realized the livelihood of my immediate family is probably not in jeopardy. My black husband, my biracial children, and I enjoy (or will enjoy) the privileges of a fantastic education and access to great jobs. We reside in a diverse, stable, and supportive community in a large and thriving city.

And then I started seeing stories like this. I wonder if the racists are going to come out of the woodwork? They feel emboldened; that much was more than clear during the campaign.

I’m telling myself it’s possible Trump isn’t as racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and homophobic as his campaign would suggest. He clearly gave voice to a shockingly ugly underbelly in this nation…but at the end of the day, I’m hoping and praying he rallied those voting blocs to his advantage, but doesn’t fully embrace their ideologies. I have faith in the checks and balances built into our government. I can’t rationally envision government agents rounding up ethnic or religious minorities.

So I’m trying, TRYING, to look past the racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia that these states tacitly embraced when they voted overwhelmingly for Trump. Even though I really want to shout from the rooftop, “Kiss my grits, Middle America!”

My family made an epic road trip last summer that took us through several of these “flyover states.” We saw these communities firsthand, and many were in visible distress. These are areas with underperforming schools. Areas where higher education may be beyond reach for many. Communities that are isolated from the rest of our beautifully multicultural nation to an extent that may be hard to fathom. I know I didn’t see any families that looked like mine.

I’m searching my soul in an effort to muster some compassion for these people. The fear and disenfranchisement they’re feeling is real. The jobs that have left their communities aren’t coming back. Time will tell if the candidate they’ve pinned all their hopes on implements policies that actually help them.

As Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I believe this to be true. My heart breaks when I think about the Pantsuit Nation stories that brought me to tears about centenarians and hospice patients voting for Hillary. Maybe those women won’t see a woman president in their lifetimes. But I believe their daughters will. Maybe their daughters will even see a brown-skinned woman president.

My husband and I had some very frank conversations about race with our children during this election. At one point, when our second-grader came home saying a friend liked Trump and so did he, I just said it: “Son, Donald Trump isn’t very nice to women. And he’s not very nice to people with brown skin either.” He blanched at these words. Part of me instantly regretted telling him this.

I’m wondering what other conversations may be coming…?

I guess I’m going to try to focus on small acts of kindness. Like many of us are telling ourselves, I’ll try to go high. And I’m going to continue to stay active and focused on the political process—since we all have an opportunity to make our voices heard in the congressional elections that will take place just two short years from now.

And I might also plan a long summer vacation in Canada.

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