The different reactions was the root of the now viral Saturday Night Live "election night" skit in which the characters Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock play laugh out loud when one of their white liberal friends says, "This is the most shameful thing America has ever done." In his opening monologue, Chappelle put it another way:
You know, I didn’t know that Donald Trump was going to win the election. I did suspect it. It seemed like Hillary was doing well in the polls and yet — I know the whites. You guys aren’t as full of surprises as you used to be.Stunned, shocked, surprised, sorrowful, scared -- however we may be reacting (and here, now, I'm not just limited my "we" to people who look more or less like me) we need to keep in mind that that window is closing. It was about a week or so ago, now, that I heard about the three to four week window.
So, what can we do? While there are lots of things that need doing, and lots of people, and groups, and efforts calling out for support, there's also a lot of running in circles. And a lot of people feeling impotent -- what can we do? Well ... here are some ideas. I do not claim that this is anywhere near a comprehensive list, nor do I imagine that everything on it will appeal to everyone. Nor can I write anything else without first noting that I'm focusing on ideas I've seen and heard from people of color. The myth of the "white savior" is alive and well -- even if only in the subconscious -- and it must be actively resisted.
I do not know Mateo Guadalupe, who penned these words, but I do know Julica Hermann DelaFuente who posted them on her Facebook page, with an encouragement to repost. I did so on Facebook, and I'll do so here, adding links to the groups Mr. Gudalupe highlights:
"Alright, white friends. We need to talk. I'm seeing a lot of you talking about donating to 'anti trump' causes and huge white-led orgs like aclu and planned parenthood right now. Some of you are putting a lot of money and energy into 4-fucking-day old organizations and facebook groups started by other white people feeling compelled to 'do something about trump.'
But the thing is, there are already brilliantly strategic, robust, multi-pronged efforts being led by those most impacted by this regime of white supremacy. People of color, especially black women & queer folks, have been leading the fight to dismantle racism and white supremacy ALL ALONG. This shit might be new to you, my blue state comrades, but this has been the lived reality for a lot of people for a long long time.
Please reconsider where you are placing your coins and energy right now. POCs already have the solutions and the strategies to win liberation. FUND THEM. INVEST IN THEM.
Give money to Black Lives Matter. Give money to black & brown lead resistance in red states, like Southerners On New Ground and SisterSong. Give money to latinxs leading the fight against deportations like Trans Queer Pueblo and Not1MoreDeportation. Fund platforms for black brilliance & critical thought like BYP100 and Echoing Ida. Support a radical funder like Third Wave Fund. This is a time for you to LISTEN to people of color, FOLLOW our lead, and INVEST in our liberation.
Take a seat, and open your wallets."This is not to say -- or, at least, I do not mean to say -- that groups like ACLU, Planned Parenthood, or NOW should be repudiated. They do good and incredibly important work -- work that is going to be needed more than ever in the days to come. What I hear in Mr. Gudalupe's post is a reminder to white liberals (like me) that the (traditionally white-led) liberal organizations are not the only groups doing things. There are organizations that are doing just as good, just as important work that need more visibility and more support.
If I am really committed to the work of racial justice, I need to place myself with those who are living day-to-day under the oppressions of the racist systems I say I want to help dismantle. My instinct, though, in this as in so many other things, is to go where it's "safe" for me, where I'm "comfortable," and where, whether I'm conscious of it or not, that "safety" and "comfort" derive at least in part because the "face" of these organizations look a whole lot like mine.
Before clicking "publish" I went to the websites of each of these groups and joined and/or made donations, (Yes, including the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and NOW. I also sent an extra donation to the NAACP.) I know that I cannot be everywhere. No one can. But because of the privilege of having a well paying job I am able to support those who are in places I can't be, doing things I can't do.
For some time now my closing salutation has been, "Pax tecum," which is Latin for "peace to you." As of today it becomes, Esse confido ... fortis esse. (Be bold ... be strong)
Esse confido ... fortis esse!
PS -- please add in the comments any other groups you think should be joined and supported!