I was an inauguration absconder. I escaped to Mexico early morning prior to the swearing in like I was El Chapo with a map of a tunnel to freedom. It was the first time I got on a plane to run from something instead of running to something (except for the time in college when I broke up with my fiancée, but that’s a long story).
Mexico seemed ambivalent to our country’s happenings. Talk of “the wall”, immigration, or civil rights didn’t occur and would have seemed incongruous in a place where the sun has permanent residence; sand is your carpet; and the ocean is your soundtrack.
My fellow refugee and I didn’t turn on the T.V., read newspapers, or scroll online. Instead, we crashed a 50-year-old Sista’s birthday party and vigorously twisted, as her husband karaokeed “Let’s do the Twist” at a sports bar located at our resort; did a tequila tasting; walked on the beach, became amazed at the schools of sting rays that frolicked right near shore, and talked about everything: old times and new happenings – everything, that is, but America’s new leader.
We paused history; we paused reality — momentarily.
It was what I wanted. I didn’t want to “live it” or viscerally remember it the way I do Obama’s inaugurations. I didn’t want to create a loaded vehicle of emotions that could easily transport me “back” to those emotions if anyone ever brought up “Trumpagedon.” I made steps to make it sterile, something that happened, like the events I used to read in history books in middle school.
The only emotion that stirred, while on my escape, was when I saw pictures of the Women’s Marches that occurred across the World the day following the Inauguration. I was missing a genuine World Movement. Like some sort of chemical reaction: orange made pale pink turn pink carmine. I was so damn proud.
I also was a little sad that I wasn’t there to experience it; but then I questioned whether if I were home I would’ve attended. Many of my Sista-friends braved the cold temperatures and rainy weather on both coasts to represent; but the majority did not. I think that many Black woman felt like I did — like cheerleaders on the sidelines supporting the team–but not yet ready to suit up and run on the field. Why though? We are women. These are our issues. This is our fight. Right?
My guess is that if someone were to do a survey, Black women’s trust level of White women is currently extremely low. We all have our friends, one or some who happened to be White, whom we do lunch with almost every day at the deli up the block from work, or are in our book club, or have kids who attend the same school. But 53% of them, 53% of White woman, voted for Trump; and we can’t be sure who did. We wonder, was it my friend?
Did she, the same friend who knitted you a lavender scarf for Christmas vote for him after he spoke of grabbling women’s vaginas? How can you respect a woman, be friends with a woman — who votes for their predator and our predator? What does that say about her—her standards and her strength as a woman? How can you view them as strong? And now they consider themselves strong because they marched one day in pink in a mostly safe, sanctioned event (privilege matters even when protesting).
They weren’t marching for us. Now that you think about it—now that you’ve watched hundreds and thousands White woman take over the streets, you realize that they’ve never advocated for us in large numbers. They’ve never shown up with this sudden righteousness for us, their Black sisters. Where have they been? Where were they while we’ve been marching over our sons, fathers, brothers and friends have been getting murdered in the streets by cops? Do they know that in the majority Black cities and counties, it’s almost impossible for a Black girl or woman to receive an abortion anyway — and has been that way for years? Did they know that a criminal will get less time for abusing a Black woman than a White woman? Do our civil rights as Black women – as Black people – count less? Will they show up next time? Will they organize a march when they see a Black woman on the news wailing in the middle of the streets because her son has been gunned down for a misdemeanor?
Or are we suddenly their sisters only now—when the laws or issue impacts them? That doesn’t seem like friendship or sisterhood.
I applaud the marches. I hope instead of being addicted to the feel good of it all; we are willing to be uncomfortable and see the truth in it all. And frankly, that may not feel good; but it could get us to good: good relations, good changes, good policies. Sometimes there needs to be an evolution for there to be a true revolution.
I can no longer hide in Mexico from our country’s new truth. 53% of White women voted for an openly misogynist, racist idiot. They have been absent during Black female’s biggest battles. They can no longer hide from that truth. In order for us to be victorious in the fight of our lives, we must be willing to be uncomfortable with who we have been and where we are.