I must admit I am not surprised. The electoral college has been screwing over black bodies in the land of the free since my ancestors were sliced into three fifths. On Election night America flipped itself on its back to set the beasts of the underbelly free.
When the news broke of Secretary Clinton’s concession, I wept fat funeral tears; yet I could not understand why. I have no reason to mourn America. The fact is, no part of the pride or triumph so many of you get from claiming this land has ever belonged to me. I say I am American in the way that I say it is raining; as an unfortunate fact. Living as a Black Muslim woman in America is a lot like being the first one in a crowd to feel a drop of rain. No one believes you until things get unbearably wet, until someone’s luncheon gets canceled.
So now that all the rain has shown up at the steps of your gazebo, now that you can no longer ignore your backwoods cousins, now that you can no longer pretend that bigotry belongs only to trailer park whites, I must ask what will you do? Will you simply go inside? Will your women explain to little Elizabeth why they voted for a man who makes rape jokes about his own daughter? What on Earth will you tell the children?
One day, I will tell mine that their mother watched America confirm that it is as bad as it has always been. I will tell them the reason we live so far away from Mama’s birthplace is because I am not half the woman that their grandmother is. I will tell them that I began to mourn them at the age of eighteen, and could not bear to give birth to coffins. I will tell them that my love for them is the only thing that could beat my obligation to this country.
Today, I have to wrestle with the reality that Trump’s America will be at least four years of my nephews’ and nieces’ childhood. I will anxiously wait for the moment when someone I love is victimized by this country. By a country willing to set itself on fire as long as our families burn.
There is nothing confusing about what happened on November 8th, 2016. White America delivered its retaliation for eight years of a Black President; for a cultural shift that no longer centers the experiences of white men; for Undocumented and Unafraid; for Black Lives Matter; for a black Muslim hijabi representing the land of the free in the Olympic games; for hope; for hope; for hope.
Throughout history, we have watched black and brown bodies fight hard to find humanity where it seems like none exists. I no longer believe America is deserving of such profound compassion from my communities. Mark Twain once said that patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it. If this is true, perhaps none of us are meant to be patriots. I can not support a country that gazes upon pictures of whites only water fountains and brutalized protesters with longing in its eyes.
If you blame third party candidates or voters, if you blame people who didn’t vote, if you blame the Clintons, or the media or the emails, you still don’t understand the problem at hand. This election was lost to us far before it began. Donald Trump did not change the hearts and minds of Americans. The America he wishes to bring back is one his followers have been missing for quite some time.
You see, white supremacy has reigned as king of America for centuries. He has seen Presidents come and go, but only he has stood the test of time. He has captured the hearts and minds of Americans, pumped them full of bloodlust and misplaced indignance, and sent them to run the country. Love, hate or indifference, however, this land is my land. My people, black people, people the color of the good wet Earth tilled this land for far too long for it to be anything else. You will all do well to remember that.
Last week, the Obamas welcomed the Trumps into their home at the White House. While White Supremacy’s latest and most fashionable face shook the hand of a man he tried to delegitimize for eight years, a man his endorsers would rather see hanging than free, we watched on with grief filled eyes. Hell hath no fury like Black America in mourning. We will not forget. The struggle continues. I hope you’re listening now.
Haddiyyah Ali is a contributor to The Daily Campus opinion section. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.