Donald Trump just won the presidential election, and white supremacists are rejoicing all over the country, including David Duke and Tomi Lahren. It’s easy to call today a victory for racism, sexism, xenophobia, all of the social ills Trump represents.
Lahren and Duke are right, as long as you consider “our people” White Supremacist America, and “#winners” in addition to racists, bigots, and deplorables. There’s no way around it. Hate won today, but it’s not over. As disheartening as this turn of events is, looking forward is always the best option. The first step is recognizing what we’re fighting against:
1. Systematic racism endorsed by our president. Again. — Trump’s campaign took money from the GEO Group, and they’re a big player toward privatizing immigration detention centers. Remember all that talk about mass deportation and banning “Muslims”(brown people)? Well the GEO Group would stand to financially benefit from filling its cells with people of color with Trump as its hype man.
It won’t stop there. Remember when Trump proposed New York City’s old stop and frisk as a viable policy? Aside from flying in the face of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, Trump endorsed racial profiling in a way that ensures more brown people end up in those private detention centers, and black people sent into the prison industrial complex. This is assuming they live long enough to get arrested with our current police brutality and racial discrimination that is sure to increase with Trump leading the charge. The Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Trump for a reason, and it likely has nothing to do with police reform. His running mate, Mike Pence, already said we should stop talking about implicit bias, showing no interest in solving a serious problem.
On top of that, Trump still thinks the Central Park Five are guilty. Yes, you read that correctly. Pence, as governor of Indiana, refused to pardon Keith Cooper, a black man who was wrongfully convicted, knowing full well he was innocent. It looks like they don’t care who gets arrested and convicted as long he’s black or brown, but don’t worry, Trump won’t just target people of color. He wants to throw Hillary Clinton in prison too, and now he’ll get his chance to lock up the one white person he’s called a criminal during his campaign.
2. Blatant sexism in the White House- After 12 women accused him of sexual assault and one of child rape (charges later dropped), Trump never lost steam. Even after he was caught on tape admitting to sexual assault, he never lost steam. It’s as if his constituents are one hundred percent dandy with their leader having zero regard for women. Oh, he also wants to punish women for abortions.
The bright side about these horrifying policy initiatives is that Trump isn’t the brightest legal mind in our government. The downside is with a Republican Congress in place, brighter minds will likely side with him in the name of partisanship. Without resistance, there’s no reason to believe he won’t follow through on what he’s said during his campaign.
So how do we fight it?
We’ll have to protest. A lot. Making your voice heard is the first step to getting things done, and we shouldn’t just leave it up to Black Lives Matter to march whenever someone gets killed by the police or Colin Kaepernick to kneel before a football game. Trump supporters were willing to protest, with bloodshed if necessary, if Clinton won. While there’s no room for violence outside of self-defense, we must be just as serious about equality as Trump supporters are about white supremacy and sexism. March against Trump’s initiatives if they deny people their rights whether he likes it or not.
Protests are great, but they’re not enough. Boycotting any products supported by Trump or his private prison donors is another way to hit them where it hurts, the pockets. Research any and all companies that benefit from Trump’s campaign and the GEO Group(as one example), and don’t give them your business. If they want to round people up based on their race, they’ll have to sacrifice their profits to do it, and so will anyone who helps them.
We must also propose and support legislation. Bernie Sanders championed a bill to ban private prisons, and that’s something we can all get behind. However, that’s not enough. Mass incarceration is much larger than the private sector, and government-funded prisons still contract with private vendors (that you can also boycott). To fight this problem, we definitely need to push opposing legislation to Trump’s stop and frisk ideas and support litigation against it, especially if it reaches the Supreme Court. In order to get a full picture of life inside the prisons, we can demand less restrictive laws for journalist access to prison inmates. There’s a reason so many of them are striking , and the more information we have the better, especially considering Trump isn’t too fond of journalists exposing him.
Support community organizations that do all of the above and then some. Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights” camp is a good start, and there a plenty of local and national organizations that fight against racial discrimination in law enforcement, employment, and education. If you see a hole that hasn’t been filled, help them fill it or start your own group and do it. There’s no room for idle hands in this venture.
Some of us may want to leave the country. Don’t. This election took an ugly turn, but it’s only the beginning. We now have four years to fight for our integrity as American citizens, and if Trump wants to lead everyone, he’ll have to deal with everyone, including the groups he disrespected and scapegoated on his way to the presidency.
Some of us who have children are wondering what they’ll tell them. How will you explain to them that bigotry is bad when their president thrives on it? Tell them that even a president can be wrong. Tell them Trump is not their role model. More importantly, tell them you spoke up. Perhaps when they’re old enough, they will too.
Some of us have already started fighting in Oakland. Even more have begun in Portland. Others showed up in New York. Still more are protesting in Grand Rapids. We’ll see how the rest of the country responds, but this is much is for sure. If you’ve never made a stand against racism, sexism, xenophobia or homophobia, now is the time to get a backbone and start. Trump must respect all Americans if he expects to have a good term as president, and that’s not up for discussion. Human and civil rights never should be.
Stay strong, my friends.
Update: Private prison stocks have surged. See this link.