What did we expect? I mean really…what did we expect?
You start a revolution preaching about the self-evident truth of equality and then you proceed to write white supremacy into your founding document. Then you wonder why black people are incarcerated at a ridiculous rate, shot for no reason, or paid less. You wonder why it is socially acceptable to question the President’s legitimacy, his birthplace and his patriotism. You wonder why people–some of whom are elected officials– think it is permissible to forward emails to friends and colleagues with racist jokes and comments about the President and the First Lady. You wonder why people freak out over a Cheerios commercial or the casting of a black man to play opposite a white women in a Star Wars film.
If you continue to be shocked by these things, you haven’t really been paying attention.
To justify owning another human being, you have to somehow convince yourself that they are less than you, that they are really not human at all. At the founding of our nation, we wanted to count black people, but not to let them count. Not to let them matter. So we said they were 3/5 of a person. And after fighting a war over the issue and numerous civil rights battles since, we still have to remind people that our lives matter. That we matter.
This is surprising to you?
You haven’t been paying attention.
Slavery is our albatross. Our original sin. When we as a nation finally decide to accept that and have a real conversation about it, that’s when things will start to change. I don’t know when or if that will happen and I don’t really know what that conversation will look like. All I know is that it needs to happen.
Until then, we will have to continue to remind people that black lives matter.
I just saw a movie called The Girl on the Train. Beware—SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven’t seen it stop reading.
Watching this movie reminded me of a fundamental truth of being a woman. I started to think about this first after the latest Donald Trump shitshow. You know, his whole “hey, man did you know they let you sexually assault a woman if you’re rich and famous enough?” moment? That was bad enough, but his campaign’s defense of it was worse. They have actually been arguing for over a week now that women are somehow unreasonable or oversensitive to react to this incident with the horror and outrage with which we have been reacting to it. They are trying to convince us that we are in the wrong, that it’s ridiculous to accuse Trump of advocating sexual assault. Which brings me back to the fundamental truth mentioned above:
Men have a way of making you feel crazy.
When you stand up for yourself, when you point out injustice, when you challenge the patriarchy they call you an over-sensitive humorless bitch. Their answer is to point the finger at us and tell us it’s our problem, not their problem or society’s problem. Donald Trump’s son actually said that if a woman can’t handle sexual harassment in the workplace then she simply should not have a job. They try to convince us that we’re crazy.
In The Girl on the Train, our protagonist’s ex-husband lied to her for years making her think that she was doing all these horrible things while she was drunk in order to cover up his own shitty behavior. And he had done it so successfully that both she and us, the viewers, are convinced that she is crazy. That is…until she talks to another women and begins to discover the truth about him. Then his new wife talks to her and discovers the truth.
And some women are now speaking out about Donald Trump. Apparently he once groped a woman on an airplane, stuck his hand up another woman’s dress at a nightclub, and stuck his tongue down a woman’s throat in an elevator without her consent. In short, he has exhibited the exact same behavior that he was condoning in the Access Hollywood tape.
So there you have it. Donald Trump is a misogynistic jackass who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to commit sexual assault.
Turns out, we’re not crazy. So let’s all make a pact to stop letting men make us feel like we are.
We are so well trained that we are our own domesticator. We are an autodomesticated animal. We can now domesticate ourselves according to the same belief system we were given, and using the same system of punishment and reward. We punish ourselves when we don’t follow the rules according to our belief system; we reward ourselves when we are the “good boy” or “good girl”.
Miguel Ruiz, “The Four Agreements”