Dear Racist Assholes,
You’re dying. Everything about you is dying; your whiteness, your mythology, your future and your power. Now, you’re panicking. I see you at Trump rallies, pumping fists, yelling, “U.S.A.!” and “We’re going to take our country back!” But we both know the truth. You lost this country and you’re never getting it back.
Vote for whoever you want. It doesn’t matter. No one is coming for you. Everyone who said they would, lied. Everyone. Remember Reagan in the 80’s, then the Bushes? They promised to make you great again. Has it ever worked? Look around you. Has it?
Where did your greatness go? Who took it? I know, I know. You think it was us. Spics and niggers took it. Rag heads, fags and feminists took it. First it we took seats on the bus. Then your jobs. Then our kids in your schools. We came out of the closet. Took over TV. We blew up your Twin Towers and then one of us became President. We take and take and take. Why weren’t we just left in Africa? Or the borders sealed from the start?
Now there’s so many of us. It’s almost too late. Now only drastic measures will do. Mexicans have to be packed in trains and dumped back home. Muslims stopped from stepping foot on our soil. Gays shamed back into the closet. Blacks forced to clean toilets with a smile. Then you’ll feel what the Pilgrims felt right?
You need America to be white and Christian again. And who will do this terrible but necessary work? Who will dirty their hands? Your leaders promised to but then sold your future to rich foreigners. Now, finally, here he is a man who speaks for you, a man who wins, wins and wins. Here is Trump, the Donald, his name emblazoned in gold on buildings.
You pack stadiums for his rallies, waving the American flag, wearing the American flag, singing all things American. Twisted Sister. The National Anthem. And you wait for it. The protesters to pop up with a sign and start shouting. Then you can do what you’ve wanted to your whole life. You openly hate. You boo, curse, spit, shove, punch and kick them as they’re hauled out. You are drooling over a Trump presidency because he’ll let you do this across the nation. Expel the scum. Expel me. Expel everyone who isn’t you.
I want you to listen very closely. Fuck you.
The whole world isn’t you. It never was. It never will be. You will never build a wall high enough, thick enough, long enough to keep us out.
It ain’t ever gonna happen. Ever. Just let it sink in. We’re here. Forever. Every new birth and new vote, we take more. No guilt about it either. Why? For us, America was never great. It’s a dream built on dead indigenous people, the Middle Passage, slavery, imperialism. Millions of lives lost so that the Founding Fathers could own stolen land. So that you could be white.
So fuck your Trump. Fuck your Confederate flag. Fuck your whiteness with my dirty Rick James boots.
I’ve wanted to curse you since I was a child. You, the Whiteness, you, the colonial ghost floating in people’s eyes, a poison mist exhaled by conquistadors and slave owners, inhaled again each new generation. You, Whiteness spilling out of mouths into a toxic fog that my family walked into every morning, blurring into charcoal outlines.
They warned me about you. Every day, I saw Mom leave for work and come back exhausted. At night, she’d sit in front of the TV or listen to music or just lay in bed, smoking with eyes closed.
You, the whiteness, were killing her. She’d been side-eyed, hit on, glared at, condescended to, insulted at times, taken for granted, taken advantage of on the way to work, at work and coming back from work.
It was like she had two jobs. One to earn money, the other to untangle herself from your labels. Spic. Whore. Immigrant. Other. Laying on the couch, a damp washcloth on her forehead, she tried to dissolve the racism that sank like silt inside her. I wondered where the stress went. Years later she had a heart attack.
Mom worked all the time but it wasn't enough. We went on welfare and once, on line, she grabbed me and said, “Don’t you ever tell anyone.” She didn’t want to be a Welfare Queen, a label you made up. A label that imagined her riding a shiny Cadillac on tax payer money. I wish she would get a ride. I wish she didn’t have to stuff her swollen feet into shoes to walk to a bus to catch a bus, to get to work.
You came for me in middle school, when a teacher doubted I wrote a story because it was too good. Or when a cousin, Boricua like me, chose to pass for white. In high school, a friend invited me to his house. When I arrived his sister’s older boyfriend, grimaced. Everyone saw but no one called him out. We broke into circles, me in one, he in the other but he looked at me and snarled. He wasn’t getting hired as a firefighter he said because, “I have something dangling between my legs and my skin’s the wrong color.” And stomped off.
Silence. Raised eyebrows. I was hot but kept mum as their banter rose like an eraser, wiping away the moment. But a switch inside me was hit and my Racial Radar began to send waves of awareness through Whiteness. To sense when it would strike. I learned what triggered it. Fear or greed almost always. Boredom sometimes. Or when the power dynamic slid too far away, the Whiteness we inhaled our whole life, possessed you.
Some of you were deeply ashamed of it. Others didn’t know they were infected but I heard it in their voices, saw it in the constellation of words they chose. A few, wore Whiteness like a Halloween mask, scaring everyone with loyalty to the nightmare.
When I got to Boston for college, I went for a drink and the bartender asked if I was new. I said yes. “Don’t go to Southie,” he said, “They don’t like you there.” He put a foaming Guinness in front of me like an apology and went back to pouring drinks. I sat there sipping, thinking wow, whole parts of the city are off limits to me. Whiteness.
It was my ancestors who saved me from you. Their voices were like mirrors. I read Malcolm X, Gandhi, Angela Davis, the Young Lords; my fingers turning the pages of their lives. I saw my face reflected in their texts and how sick I was from the Whiteness. The fear. The self-doubt. The warped dreams of wearing money as camouflage. How the dollar sign was shaped like a hand-cuff.
I turned their mirror like voices around to face you and you flinched at seeing your ghosts. How you began to notice the toxic fog we lived in. Some of you fled, some of you punched to crack the reflection, some of you wept.
We weren’t the first generation to do this but we were the first to enter this deep. We were the Post Civil Rights Era, Post Black Power, now Hip Hop generation, going into this burning white mist, holding mirrors. Our consciousness, cleared space around us. As if new air was blowing through the world.
In the decades since, everywhere you turn there’s a person of color holding a mirror. On TV, we hold up mirrors. In music, in newspapers and in college classes we hold up mirrors. In the riots of Baltimore and Ferguson and in the Black Lives Matters protests, we carry mirrors through the streets. The President, a black man at the highest office of the land, holds up a mirror. And in those many, many reflections, you and everyone can see the bloody grave upon which you built your history.
You hate this shit. I know. You hate us for reflecting your criminal past and you want to be clean again. To be white as snow. As white as the truth. As white as Christmas and the Joker’s skin. As white as a blank map. You are so desperate to be innocent again that you are ready to vote for a Fool to be president.
You fucking idiots. Think. For once, please, turn off the Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and think. Let me help you.
Who took your jobs away? Whoa, hold on. No it wasn’t us. Do a thought experiment. Say, you just got fired. Or you can’t find work. Imagine walking into the shiny lobbies of rich corporations. Say you take the elevator up the CEO suite, the place where the decisions to “downsize” or to move the factories overseas and leave a whole town in poverty are made. Who do you thinks sits in that office?
Do you really think it’s a group of Black people, hi-fiving? Or Mexicans with greasy aprons from the kitchen, snickering as they sneak off during lunch break, to meet and plot the destruction of America? Do you? Do you really think that it's Feminists, smearing lipstick over their faces, as they rip up your paychecks and stir them in cauldron like Communist witches? Or gay men throwing glitter as they plan to remodel your factories into co-ops? Do you really think this?
Or do you know, in the stirring in your gut, a place where you knot sadness with ropes to keep it suspended, if you tugged the knot loose, would you admit the truth – it was old, rich, white men who betrayed you?
Your Whiteness…will not keep you safe. It will not return your jobs or get you better ones. It will not rescue you or put your family back together. Sure, you have and will have privileges. No doubt. But the truth is that your elite has left you behind. They are doing business with the whole world now and you are an embarrassment. You.
Geopolitics is leaving you behind. Capitalism is leaving you behind. Demographic change is leaving you behind. This is not Germany in the 1930’s. This is a somewhat integrated America with people of color woven into the state and the business world at nearly every level. To act out your fantasy of The Purge would mean ripping America apart. The elite don’t want that so they will, instead, leave you behind. So are white comedians. And aside from some death metal bands, so are white musicians. You are left with an American flag at a Trump rally, wanting to be the center of the world again.
Do you really think that a rich, white man, a man whose own clothing line is made in China, who shakes hands with wealthy foreigners more than he ever has with workers is really, going to help you? Or is he selling you a dream, selling you a blindness in the form of white pride? If you think he is coming to rescue you, go ahead, vote for him but I think you’re going to be in a lot of pain in the years ahead.
You know before you were white, you were something very beautiful. You were a human being. It was hard. I know. In the Old World. The powers that be, fucked with you. Parliament stole your land. You were starved. You were exploited in factories. And you fled that terror to a dream called America.
When you arrived, the hard, desperate life you hoped was left behind, began all over again. With one caveat. You could be white. Wars came and went. Each one lifting your immigrant ancestors into Whiteness, they moved into new work, new housing or new suburbs, inhaling deep this toxic fog that crept across the land. You coughed at first, it tasted like Ajax but the transformation came.
Now you have been white so long, made so much money from it, were hypnotized and addicted to it, killed for the sake of it that I don’t know if you can change. I saw how you are in the fever of Whiteness, in photos, you smiled around a charred Black man or stripped Mexicans naked and beat them in the Zoot Suit riots. I saw you on TV, in handcuffs after killing Black people, who were praying in church.
I hate you. I protect everyone I love from you. I am grateful you are losing power and that Whiteness is being ventilated through our mirrors, out to the sky. There’s less of it to go around. And you are shivering and sweating and screaming, going through withdrawal. You flock toward whoever can get you a good dose of privilege.
I think you’re in for a lot of pain this century. I don’t know if I feel sorry for you. I see you at the Trump rallies, you look angry but also a little scared. So am I. Of you that is. Not because you have power over me so much as you can’t control yourselves. You’re addicted to Whiteness and addicts are dangerous.
For the rest of my life, I will have to look over my shoulder to keep an eye on you. It’s okay, I’ve accepted it. Knowing my children will have it easier helps. But I wonder, if you wonder, what it would be like if we stopped this insane cycle of violence? If we stopped killing each other over the illusion of prestige, over this addiction to power? I wonder, do you ever just want to be a human being again?
My Third-Degree Bern: Hope in a Time of Crisis
By Nicholas Powers
What's a Feminist to Do? Clinton's Run Surfaces Issues of Race, Gender and Class
By Linda Martín Alcoff