Listen up, white people. You’ve altered the course of our—black, Latinx and Middle Eastern people’s—history in this country, and we’re here to say: Fuck you.
You let us down. And you let down LGBTQ communities, women and others struggling to get civil rights, equal pay and decent lives. We and they—not you—are the ones who will be beaten back in our quest for respect and equality. You—and not us—are the ones to blame for making Donald Trump president.
We're not talking about all white people, of course. There are some white folks among the embattled communities who will be targeted by Trump and his political allies. Some have embraced change, and fought xenophobia and bigotry. But white voters, especially male and uneducated white voters, handed this election to Donald Trump.
And that is no way to act.
Listen: You’re not being left behind. We will become a majority-minority nation by the middle of the century, but no one is going to enslave you. We’re not going to fear you and your kids, and open fire before asking questions. We won’t give you harsher prison sentences for possession of your favorite drugs. We won’t pull you aside at the airport or tell you to go back home to European countries.
So this reaction to your anxieties—or whatever you’re reacting to—really won’t do. Donald Trump won’t be your answer. He’s the opposite of your answer. He’s only going to make things worse. Everyone is going to suffer, but the heaviest burden will be borne by people of color, and not you.
And this brief message goes out to young white voters just as it does to their elder peers: You have left us, your neighbors and friends, in the lurch.
You were the ones who handed Trump the state of Ohio, where about 15% of the state’s denizens are black, and just under 4% are Latino. Somewhere around one in five Ohioans, then—your neighbors—will have to live with a racist demagogue as their president.
Or, more to the point, take Wisconsin. Most Wisconsinites won’t have to deal with the torrent of bigotry that Trump has unleashed into mainstream American politics. That’s because Wisconsin—some 90% of the state—is mostly made up of white people.
For 32 years, Wisconsin has sent its electoral college votes for Democrats, including twice for Barack Obama. Cities in the states remained blue strongholds. But in counties in the western section of the state that were blue in 2012—counties Obama rode to an easy win—Trump prevailed.
Sure, Hillary Clinton proved inept as a defender of people of color and other ethnic and religious minorities. And she was inept at the politics of it, ignoring mostly-white Wisconsin after the Democratic primary.
But that’s no excuse. Clinton was a nightmare—even for some of us—but Donald Trump was the apocalypse. What we really needed was for you to step up, to help be a firewall against Trump’s horrible policies, his Muslim bans, his tough-on-crime bullshit. We needed you to be a bulwark against the alt-right, the neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists who no doubt feel empowered today, who have found a president who speaks to—or at least tolerates—them.
White voters need to understand this: You have been historically powerful in this country and continue to be. The one black president we’ve had was a blip; otherwise, this has been a nation run almost exclusively by white men. We keep hearing about your anxieties, but those concerns pale in comparison to what people of color, on the whole, have already suffered.
You should feel bad. Because we guarantee you’re not going to feel as bad as we, our families and our friends of color will. We will feel the wrath of the newly acceptable atrociousness of American mainstream politics—and the policies it enacts.
So Clinton annoyed you? She didn’t speak enough in your state? And some other oligarch from New York promised to ease your troubled mind and you took the bait? Save it. And fuck you.
Ali Gharib is a journalist based in Brooklyn. Sometimes he writes about bars and broke down cars.