Since the result of what I refer to as That Man becoming president-elect, I’ve done a lot of thinking — mostly in a state of hopelessness despair, and anger.
Because of the colour of my skin, I’m aware this presidency would not affect me as much as it will people of colour. And because of this awareness, this disgusting bias in the world, my heart aches more for the people of colour, the Jewish community, Muslim community, people with disabilities, transgender and non-binary people, women, and many more That Man has and will bully. For these minorities in America, it’s clear there is a very real and very visceral fear in their lives now — fear that they may be deported; fear they may not be able to legally get birth control or an abortion; fear of simply walking down a street. Yet, these fears – particularly those concerned with misogyny and race – have always existed; what the orange man’s presidency shows is that this is something we cannot ignore any longer.
I’ve tried to think over the last couple of days how I could help, in any way, the minorities living in America right now. I can’t donate as I have no money to, but I have used Twitter, the New York Times, the Paris Review, novels and films to try and educate myself on parts of life I may never and/or will never experience. I’m aware it’s a privilege to have access to these things – to have access to the literature and writing and art of the world, and so from now on I’m not going to take this privilege for granted. I’m going to try and read, watch, consume as much as I can, because this election has shown me the privileges some people do not have – or refuse to acknowledge.
A lot of people in America will be dealing with extremely un-artistic, “real-world” aspects right now, such as protesting, trying to get a Visa before 20th January, getting a passport with the gender they would like to be identified with for now, and so on. Because of this, I feel kind of stupid for writing that, right now, it feels like the one thing I can do to help is to continue making art. The supporters of That Man and That Man himself want this world to be a business haven, with no creativity or artistic endeavour. Protests and so on are important right now, but it’s clear minority voices – the voices of people who have been silenced for too long – are more important than ever. I hope people out there now that we all want to hear stories from transgender people, poems from women of colours, want to see paintings from men of colour, and films from latinxs.
To try and help push back the hate, I’m going to start writing more, consuming more art, and taking it more seriously. No sarcastic comments that really just hide my fear that I’m not clever enough, no ironic statements that hide my imposter’s syndrome. None of that matters — what matters is, as my lecturer said, the power of words and what we do with them, since they have the power to shape and change the world.
So, let’s keep reminding ourselves that this is our planet. This is our world. This is water.