Say it with me, Donald Trump is our next president. Give yourself five seconds to digest and accept that. Now, I know, your immediate reaction was to run for the Canadian border. But that’s not the right move. Really, how many woes (whoadies if you’re from New Orleans) are there really chillin’ in the 6? Not many. Plus, Canada has it’s on checkered past when it comes to equality.
I must admit, my initial reaction to Donald Trump being elected was fear—fear of determining how was I, a black man with little to no economic cushion, survive a Trump presidency. Will I have to pull a Sammy Sosa and morph into Casper, the friendly Negro? And women. Will they have to start wearing shower caps to avoid the “alleged” tainted rain of Chief Pussy Grabber? Then I thought about Muslims, the LGBT community and immigrants. How will they survive? How will we all survive? Then I realized that I possess the same moral and political fortitude of black men and women before me who not only survived but fought to survive, providing benefits I now take advantage of every day. If they can do it under governmental, economical and peer pressure, then I can do it during a Trump presidency. Let’s be as politically petty as Maxine Waters and fight Trump.
Be Black as HELL. I can’t lie. The week of Trump’s win, I set in my barber’s chair and was like, “Cut it as low as possible. We in Trump’s America now.” I went home, watched the first season of Duck Dynasty and fixed myself a mayonnaise sandwich. (I had to put some hot sauce on that nasty bih.) This immediate reaction to succumb to the pressures of neutralizing my blackness to fit into this new political landscape was the wrong move. Wrong as HELL. Look, we will no longer have a president that’ll publicly sing Al Green, tell folks about poppin’ off nor a president that has a wife with a Black ass middle name like LaVaughn. That doesn’t make you any less Black. For the next four years, promise me you’ll be Black as HELL. Do it for the kids born during an Obama presidency. Do it for the culture. Be Blackity-black-black y’all.
Don’t just protest the system, change it. Every Black person knows a Karique. Karique is that family member that denounces every pagan holiday, blames everything on “the man” and is the first person to lead a social media protest. However, when it’s time to vote, sit at city council meetings and petition is local reps, he relies on his Twitter activism to prove how “woke” he is. You see Karique isn’t that concerned about making a change. He’s more concerned about making a statement. We have to stop gassing up Karique. Stop gassing up activists, politicians and other leaders for making statements, whether that’s taking a knee or displaying 1000 x 1000 pixel tweet. We have to move beyond making statements about systematic injustices and start making systematic changes. Stop teaching our children how to survive under the system and start teaching them how to change it.
Put your money where your mouth is. This past election taught us that corporate investments in the political process is turning people off. I’m not sure if this is reflective in the black community or not. (We just trying to get by honestly.) But money is power, and there are many Black politicians and community allies that need our support. Want change? Make a concerted effort to donate to politicians that can make that change. There are politicians like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker that need us. Even at the local level, there’s Jewell Jones and Trayon White, young people who are actively working to change the system. Don’t feel comfortable donating to a politician? Donate to your favorite cause. Getting a group of people to donate $5 a month can have a significant impact on the next elections.
Politicians are tools, not your savior, activist or BFF—Use them. Be politically strategic. Politicians are not activists nor are they altruistic magicians. Stop viewing them through a prism of perfection. You’re not going to agree with them on every single issue. If you don’t get your candidate of choice, hold your elected officials’ feet to the fire. They’ll be up for reelection in the future. Make them NEED your vote. Mostly importantly, stop holding Black politicians to superhuman White standards. There will be no one politician that’ll dismantle 400 plus years of systematic oppression. Criticize them, yes. However, don’t hold them to a higher standard than you would a White politician. Otherwise, you’re just fortifying the racist notion that Black people have to be damn near Jesus just to qualify while others just have to be white (or orange).
Support Black Journalism. Trump is attacking CNN. So, you know he ain’t stuntin’ Black media outlets. This why we have to support our Black journalist, whether they work for a Black-owned publication or not. This includes supporting all viewpoints, liberal and conservative, on all media outlets. On TV we have Joy Reid, Van Jones and yes, even Roland “ascot-wearing” Martin. In print, we have Charles D. Ellison, Vann R. Newkirk II and Terrell J. Starr. These people will have various points of views that’ll provide context to what Trump and his opposers are doing.
Have hope. What do we have if we don’t have hope? This is one of the questions that ranged out to me during Michelle Obama’s interview with Oprah. What do we have? For the next four years (praying for less than two), it’ll become incredibly easy to lose hope. Immediately after the election, I saw many people express a pessimistic view of the future of America. I cannot and will not stand by this notion. We as Black people have made America a land where Black women can put a man on the moon and where a Black man can be president. Don’t lose hope. You can’t afford to.