To the People Saying We’ll Survive Trump

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Image Description: Crowd of people standing and a few are holding signs. One sign reads, “this is not okay,” and the other sign reads, “fear…” and the rest of the sign is unreadable.

[TW: discussions of, and references to racism, Islamophobia, colonization, xenophobia, racialized violence, transphobia and other queerphobia, misogyny, sexual violence, ableism, and various types of hate crimes and bigotry]

This is to all the people telling members of various disadvantaged and oppressed groups to “calm down,” that we all just need to “come together,” and that if conservatives “survived Obama,” we’ll “survive Trump:”

SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

Do not fucking tell us to calm down. We’re entitled to feel however the hell we feel. Do not tone police our reaction to President Toddler Hitler-lite. You have no idea where we’re coming from, and you clearly are not bothering to try to understand our very precarious situation. You’re blinded by your own privilege, so shut it.

And don’t you dare tell us we need to come together with Trump and his supporters. We are not obligated to unite with people who hate us, are bigoted toward us, and who terrify us. Trump and his supporters don’t get to be raging xenophobic, misogynistic, racists for a year and a half and then expect everyone they hate to be all hunky-dory and just fall in line. Fuck that!

How hell do you not understand that asking a person of color to set aside their own rights and well-being to make peace with a white supremacist is a giant slap in the face? Or how expecting Muslims, immigrants, or refugees to forget about all the hate and discrimination they faced from Trump and his supporters for the sake of your personal comfort is just plain heartless? Or how simply asking the LGBTQIA+ community to overlook the fact that Mike Pence and many Trump supporters think it’s perfectly acceptable to torture the f*ggot out of queer kids may cause actual trauma? Seriously, where the hell do get off asking these things of people?

Do not tell us we’ll live or we’re overreacting, because here is a list of people who will literally not survive the Trump-Pence administration:
1. Black folx and other PoC who will face increased racialized violence from police and white p*wer groups.
2. Native North Americans and Indigenous people whose land, water, and other resources will be polluted and stolen by the government and corporations.
3. Latinx people who will be racially profiled by ICE, many of whome will be illegally detained in inhumane facilities.
4. Undocumented immigrants who will likely be hunted down, rounded up into concentrated areas (does this sound vaguely familiar?), and deported.
5. Muslims who will be stigmatized even further, face an increased threat of violent hate crimes, be racially profiled by law enforcement, and who may have to register as Muslims (you know, like Jewish people in pre World War II Germany).
6. Refugees who will not be granted asylum in the U.S. Refugees who are running for their lives and have no where to go.
7. People with mental illnesses, disabled folx, and those who otherwise depend on state assistance for lifesaving healthcare.
8. People with pre-existing health issues and anyone else that relies on the regulations set forth in the ACA to obtain lifesaving health insurance coverage.
9. Any person who needs, or will need, access to affordable reproductive healthcare, including contraception, abortions, STI testing, reproductive-related cancer screenings, etc.
10. Trans and genderqueer folx who need accessible, legal avenues to change the gender identity on their legal documents (birth certificates, passports, state-issued photo IDs, etc.)
11. LGBTQIA+ folx who need access to safe transitional housing, to mental healthcare, to legal protections for their civil rights, and who will face increased rates of hate crimes.

If you don’t believe me, check out the links below. There are reports of trans suicides, racial violence, and violence against Muslim women.

And do not compare our terror and protests of Trump’s presidency to people’s animosity toward President Obama. Most people were angry about Obama’s presidency because they were racist. A few people may have simply been upset their candidate didn’t win, but let’s be honest, most of them were just racist assholes.

Those of us freaking out about Trump aren’t doing so because we’re sore losers, or because we’re bigoted assholes who are scared of losing our privilege. We’re freaked out because we know we’re about to face a living nightmare of hate crimes, police violence, and a loss of civil rights. We’re not shitty because other people might take a few steps toward equity and social justice, thereby narrowing the gaps in our social hierarchy and reducing our own privilege. We’re shitty because we’re about to take a giant step backward.

So yeah, sit your damn ass down and shut the fuck up!
Preston, Dominic. “Reports claim ‘at least 8’ trans youth died by suicide after Trump’s win,” Pink News. Nov. 10, 2016. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/11/10/reports-claim-at-least-8-trans-youth-committed-suicide-after-trumps-win/

Boyer, Ashley. Facebook Post screenshot via Kat Blaque. Nov. 10, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/kat.blaque.5/posts/1218259301582221

@Toure. Tweet screenshot via Shaun King Facebook page. Nov. 11, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/shaunking/photos/a.799605230078397.1073741828.799539910084929/1195912750447641/?type=3&theater

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We Americans are Ignorant Imperialists for Celebrating Columbus [TW]

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: a picture of a painting of Christopher Columbus with the

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: a picture of a painting of Christopher Columbus with the “Scumbag Steve” hat photo-shopped on his head

[Trigger Warning! Graphic Violence, Rape, Genocide, Imperialism] 

Today is Columbus Day here in the U.S., and like many kids, I was taught Columbus was a brave explorer who “in 1492, sailed the ocean blue,” and “discovered” America. It was a wonderful story of adventure, discovery, hardship, and triumph. It also made what is now the United States seem a little like the lost city of Atlantis – an unknown and uninhabited place where good and brave souls were free to make a life for themselves. Out of Columbus’ “discovery,” I was taught, the greatest nation on earth (i.e., America) was born.

In reality, Columbus didn’t discover anything. Not only did Vikings land in North America 500 years before Columbus, but the Americas had already been inhabited for thousands of years by millions of people. Yet the fact Columbus didn’t actually make a great discovery is not the problem with our continued celebration of him. Sure, hailing Columbus as the grandfather of the U.S. makes us look rather foolish, but the real problem is how our exaltation of Columbus negatively impacts Native North American people.

So, what really happened in 1492 when Christopher Columbus “sailed the ocean blue?” Truthfully, he got lost. He was headed to India, but got stuck in the Caribbean. The indigenous people there were nice enough to help him out, but unfortunately for them Columbus was a bit of a shit. And that’s putting it mildly. Here are just a few of the atrocities committed by Christopher Columbus:

  1. He stole from the indigenous populations. Columbus was greedy, especially for gold, so he took the gold, land, and other resources from the indigenous communities.
  2. He used [indigenous] slave labor to make himself rich. Columbus would enslave and force primarily adult men to mine for gold, but also force them to perform all kinds of labor for himself and his men.
  3. He is the father of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In addition to desperately searching for gold via slave labor, Columbus thought he could make money by enslaving indigenous people, shipping them to Europe, and selling them. He started by sending a small shipment of Taínos to Spain in February 1494, and sent a larger shipment of 550 Taínos the next year. While this did not prove lucrative for Columbus, he continued shipping people back to Europe. Additionally, his greed for gold created instability in the gold economy of the Gold Coast of Africa, which lead to African slaves being the most valuable commodity exported from that region.
  4. He created and traded sex-slaves. Columbus enslaved girls as young as 9 and 10 and used them as sex-slaves. He would give them to his men as “rewards.”
  5. He was a rapist. Columbus and his men basically raped whoever they wanted whenever they wanted.
  6. He mutilated and disfigured the indigenous people as “punishment” for not doing what he wanted. Columbus would cut the ears, noses, and hands off those who refused to work for him or did not work as much/hard as he demanded. People who did not meet their gold mining quotas had their hands cut off and hung around their necks.
  7. He hunted people with dogs and fed them to dogs. Columbus would feed indigenous soldiers who rebelled to dogs while they were still alive. And those who fled to the mountains in search of safety from the European invaders were hunted down with dogs for sport.
  8. He committed genocide. In just two years, Columbus and his men had caused the deaths of over half the indigenous people in Haiti. In 1515, the population of the island was reduced from approximately 250,000 to 50,000. By 1550, there were only 500 indigenous people left. And these are just the people Columbus directly killed.
  9. He spread disease. Europeans brought diseases like small pox which wiped out 90 to 95 percent of the Native North American population. An estimated two to three million people died from disease and starvation as a result from Columbus’ invasion.

Celebrating Columbus is a slap in the face to the decedents of the people he murdered, raped, maimed, and enslaved. It whitewashes U.S. history by prioritizing our pleasant-looking hegemonic narrative over the realities of indigenous people. It glosses over the atrocities committed against Native North Americans and ignores the problems, which are a direct or indirect result of imperialist expansion/invasion, that indigenous groups continue to face. It sends the message that all indigenous people are less valuable than White America’s conception of one white guy who was a horrible person.

Sources:

  1. Bigelow, Bill, “Why It’s Time to Abolish Columbus Day,” Zinn Education Project, Oct. 9, 2015, http://www.alternet.org/education/why-its-time-abolish-columbus-day.
  2. “Columbus Day,” The Oatmeal, 2014, http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day.
  3. Gibson, Robert C., “7 Myths and Atrocities of Christopher Columbus That Will Make You Cringe,” US Uncut, Oct. 10, 2015, http://usuncut.com/world/7-myths-and-atrocities-of-christopher-columbus-that-will-make-you-cringe/.