Stunned and shocked. That about sums up my reaction to the election this past Tuesday. Well, when the United States of America elects a xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, homophobic narcissist (see if you can say that five times fast), I don’t know how else you can feel about it.
I don’t normally discuss politics. This isn’t a political blog and I’ve always felt content to keep my political leanings off these pages. But this election is different. Trump stands as an affront to things that matter to those of us in interracial relationships – especially those that cross borders. He has denigrated people of color. He is against immigration and immigrants. He was endorsed by white supremacist groups. He is a misogynist who has admitted to sexually assaulting women.
That’s a lot to swallow. I know.
I could talk about how and why this happened in 2016 (cue the #ThisIs2016 hashtag), but I think there are far better reflections on that elsewhere. (See also this post from fellow blogger Autumn regarding the election.)
Instead, I feel it’s worth considering the question on many people’s minds. What does this mean for interracial couples and their allies?
I don’t have a crystal ball to gaze into the future and imagine what a Trump Presidency will do to America. But I do know the next four years are going to be really tough to witness. That feeling of dread still hasn’t left me since I learned the election results.
At the same time, I have a lot of experience processing personally catastrophic events.
A university completely screwed my husband and his future – and by association, screwed me too – in the most reprehensible and unimaginable way. In the wake of this, I seriously considered committing suicide for the first time in my life. Yes, suicide. The university had wrongfully robbed my husband of his career and future, everything we had hoped for together. Was there anything else worth living for?
It took at least a week before I could push through all of the devastation, before I could see a path forward. My husband and I ultimately decided we were not content to just accept what happened. We would take action. We would fight this injustice. Why? Because we knew deep in our hearts that what happened was wrong. Because we were determined to never give up on our dreams.
This positive momentum of this decision uplifted me. Even though this wasn’t what I had expected to work on in late 2013 and beyond, this decision gave me something to live for. We rallied together and, over the years, our optimism and hard work paid off in unexpected ways (such as gaining the support of leaders in the American psychology field). We’ve never been closer to justice than now, even though it took us over three years to get here.
I’ve learned the value of standing up for yourself and what you believe in, even when things look dreadful.
Here’s what I hope the Trump Presidency means for interracial couples. Let this election be your rallying cry to stand up for your beliefs. To champion and protect the rights of everyone, including people of color, immigrants, women, and the LGBT community. I know it’s a total cliché, but we really do have more power than we imagine. Believe in yourself and remember that your voice matters more than ever.
I know it’s not going to be easy, because I’ve been there. You’ll need some time to process this all. And chances are, you’ll need something like meditation, exercise, therapy, chocolate, or, in my case, an evening with Ang Lee’s version of Sense and Sensibility (seriously, that movie never fails to calm me down).
But once you’re done, come see me. Because we’ve got some work to do.