Biden Won, but if You’re Going Back to Brunch, You’re Part of the Problem

After four years under a presidential administration that caused irreparable harm and an election rife with explicit white supremacy, misogyny, voter suppression, and the ongoing threat of a potential coup, I appreciate why so many folx are celebrating this moment. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s win is historic. Without question. There are certainly some reasons to be dancing in the streets (mostly because of the work done by Black women and femmes). And I wish I could. I wish I felt the relief and overwhelming joy I see—most noticeably from liberal white women.

But I don’t.

I can’t.

Here’s why.

The 2020 U.S. elections once again showed America—and the world—how racist and oppressive this country really is. More white women showed up to support Trump in 2020 than in 2016. Fifty-five percent of white women voted for a racist, misogynist, capitalist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist xenophobe. That is not a win. That is a battle cry to acknowledge, address, and heal the deeply rooted white supremacy and racial trauma that exists in this country and around the world.

As a queer Black woman, when I see all the red on the map, when I learn how close the margins were, when I witness, yet again, how violent white women continue to be, I am terrified, outraged, and deeply saddened. I know all too well what this means for Black and Indigenous people—especially for queer and trans Black and Indigenous women and femmes. We will still face direct and indirect harm to our lives and livelihoods, but the majority of people will once again turn the other cheek.

My concern has little to do with who is in power but rather with the people who feel assured the worst is over. All around me, I see white and other non-Black and non-Indigenous liberals already sticking their heads back in the sand. They are already brushing off their shoulders, heading off to brunch, and calling it a day.

“The last 4 years were just a blip,” they tell themselves.

“I am a good person. I’m not part of the problem”

“That’s not who we are. It was all just a bad dream.”

Well, let me be real clear here, Karen: Four years of traumatizing oppression ain’t got shit on 400 years of white supremacy, Indigenous erasure, and anti-Blackness. That has happened under every president to date, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama included. Where is the “blip” when oppression is part and parcel of America’s foundation?

Four years of traumatizing oppression ain’t got shit on 400 years of white supremacy, Indigenous erasure, and anti-Blackness.

It goes without saying that removing Trump’s administration will result in much-needed progress. But I remain deeply concerned by the belief that Democrats in the White House will save us. Because Black and Indigenous folx still aren’t safe. Have never been safe. There is no real win until all Black and Indigenous folx are liberated. Periodt. And Black and Indigenous liberation will not, and cannot, come from a system of government created by and for white supremacy. No matter who is at its helm.

Black women will still die during childbirth at a disproportionate rate. Black men will continue to be incarcerated for white profit. Black trans women will continue to be subject to the highest murder rates worldwide. And white supremacy will be swept under the rug because its high-profile champion, Donald Trump, will be out of the White House.

But this pervasive rot of racism will still exist, and if we pretend like it has gone away, we are all doomed.

This is not a time to cross the aisle for performative unity and sing kumbaya with white supremacists. This is a time for a deep reckoning. Especially for white and white-passing women. Now is the time to prioritize, uplift, and center those made most marginalized: Black and Indigenous women and femmes.

I know I’m not alone in my anger, and I also know many of us are being gaslit and ostracized for refusing to partake in outright celebration. But acknowledging the frustrations is critical in order for us to move forward.

Yes, there are reasons to be joyful. And Black and Indigenous folx deserve to celebrate any and every damn day we survive. Reclaiming joy is our birthright. But a lot of the celebrating I’m seeing, especially from white women, centers whiteness. And that shit ain’t right.

But this pervasive rot of racism will still exist, and if we pretend like it has gone away, we are all doomed.

Take note: I am celebrating the way Black American women and femmes voted in their best interest and, in doing so, saved this country from itself. I celebrate women like Stacey Abrams, Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, Tamika Mallory, and so many others who paved the way by organizing and expanding the voting population. But I understand that Black women and femmes’ labor is regularly exploited.

I am celebrating how Indigenous Americans showed up, especially in traditionally Republican states like Arizona, to help push for change. But I also recognize the ways Indigenous folx’ contributions are often made invisible.

I am celebrating that there is a Black and South Asian woman (like myself) in the White House. But I also acknowledge that, at times, Vice President-Elect Harris has been anti-Black and transphobic during her political career and caused harm to many.

I feel fragments of joy, sure, but I am also furious and sad as hell. If you’re not, then perhaps you should think about what you expect to change—if anything—now that the Democrats have been elected to the White House.

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