White People Shouldn't Delete Pro-Trump Friends On Social Media & Here's Why
To all white Americans who want to delete their pro-Trump friends on social media — don't. I get it: It's frustrating AF having to see their thoughts pop up on your feed, and you probably don't have much in common with them. However, being a white liberal that disconnects from their conservative friends and family isn't constructive.
The fact to face is that white people elected Trump, and we have to accept responsibility. Pushing back against pro-Trump folks isn't work for minorities to do. Many of them have already done their part — all you have to do is look at the polls. Fifty-eight percent of whites voted for Trump, whereas 8 percent of African-Americans, 29 percent of Hispanics, and 29 percent of Asians did the same. If you looked at a voting map where only POC voted, it'd be 100 percent blue. This is our work to do.
Standing around looking surprised when something like this happens is a finished and done tactic. Most non-white people weren't shocked at this outcome — just like they weren't shocked when the guests at a LGBTQ club in Florida got massacred, or when reports of cops shooting unarmed POC came in waves, or when alt-right rhetoric began to go mainstream.
If you want to start seeing those red states start turning blue, you have to start uncomfortable conversations with your conservative circles. It might be tempting to announce that you're not going to Thanksgiving this year, or that you've stopped speaking to someone because they're racist. The excuse of "it gets me too angry" is no longer viable, and your comfort is no longer paramount. Trump has promised to deport 11 million immigrants and proposed a ban on Muslims. His racist speech has energized hate groups to become more vocal, and reports of swastikas spray painted onto buildings, knives being pulled out on Muslims, and life-threatening slurs being hurled in the middle of public streets are everywhere in the days after his election.
It might sound like a lot to do, but really, it starts with a conversation — and I can give you an example.
Seven years ago, my dad would grimace if he so much as saw two men holding hands. Now he thinks if you're in love, you should get married — no matter your gender. It didn't happen overnight, but it did happen after years and years of making the conversation uncomfortable at dinner. He would say something derogatory or offhanded about the gay community while passing the mashed potatoes, and I would challenge his thoughts by sharing the discrimination, prejudice, and violence experienced firsthand by members of the LGBTQ community. I forced him to see and acknowledge (albeit begrudgingly) a reality that was outside of his own.
And it's not just older generations who have these arguably outdated opinions of marginalized communities. There are millennials who firmly stand by racist, homophobic, xenophobic ideas. "When it comes to explicit prejudice against blacks, non-Hispanic white millennials are not much different than whites belonging to Generation X (born 1965-1980) or Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)," the Washington Post reported. "White millennials (those born after 1980) express the least prejudice on 4 out of 5 measures in the survey, but only by a matter of 1 to 3 percentage points, not a meaningful difference. On work ethic, 31 percent of millennials rate blacks as lazier than whites, compared to 32 percent of Generation X whites and 35 percent of Baby Boomers."
I encountered someone from a younger generation of bigotry recently, when I retweeted a map on Twitter that showed how the elections would look if only POC voted — it was all in blue. Attached to the map was the original poster's message: "White people. Do better."
I immediately got a flood of tweets back-lashing against the statement — according to them, it was racist against white people. It was racist to point out racism. I was shaming people, creating divides, I was acting anti-white. A message that basically said "White people, we need your help if there ever will truly be change in this country for us," was met with a total heel-digging-denial and outright refusal.
And these weren't comments from random people from the alt-right; these were some of the blonde-haired bloggers who I follow to figure out how to wear my booties this season.
And while the comments I got tweeted back at me were uncomfortable and frustrating, this is what Wilfred Chan, the journalist I retweeted, got:
This is what I mean. These next four years, don't let any one person get away with their racist rhetoric. It's your place to tell them "asking white people to not only care about white people is not racist" and "being pro-POC isn't anti-white, allow more space in your definition." Read articles, follow people in different walks of life than you, and educate yourself so you can begin to change the minds of those around you.
It won't always be easy. You'll lose your shit sometimes; you'll ruin a dinner by yelling at the person across from you, and you'll start using the same I-can't-hear you denial tactics the conservatives do. But other times, you'll have the words. You'll have the facts, the statistics, the stories, because an "I'm sorry this happened, I don't know what to say" tweet will no longer cut it.
Granted, your adversary won't change their mind then and there. But if they hear those same phrases from different people, in different situations, for months and years, they'll begin to understand. At the very least, they'll begin to listen.
So start those conversations, and keep them going. Don't wall yourself off from the racism in your community, however uncomfortable it might be to call out. We know these people better than the minorities asking for our help do. We're the ones that'll change their minds — and in next election, we might all do better for one another.
Images: The BBC (1)