Preaching to the Choir About Racism
“How many times do we expect Black people to build our country?” asked Samantha Bee on the episode of Full Frontal following the presidential election. I have asked this question many times and while I appreciate these sorts of sentiments from “woke” White comedians on a national level, at this point I don’t know that the jokes and the efforts to push the point carry much weight.
Bee makes the points we all know, that vulnerable communities – particularly communities that are not straight white men – are under threat if not already experiencing literal attacks. She points out that one of her staffers was verbally harassed on his way to work. And we’re seeing these stories of “Day 1 in Trump’s America” being shared widely already.
We knew this would happen (because, history) and many of us have already said “I told you so.” But Bee’s response to the clip of Van Jones shared in her segment was most telling, Bee said “that is the gentle, reasonable tone of a Black man that knows it’s going to be illegal for him to raise his voice for the next four years.” While we’ve known that Whiteness is horrible, there is now the strong possibility of a world paralleling that of Jim Crow’s America.
Bee makes this clear, along with explicitly stating “The majority of White women who faced with the historic choice between the first female president and a vile of weaponized testosterone said ‘I’ll take option B, I just don’t like her.’…Did you not hear people of color begging you not to legitimize this?” followed by clips of the racism, sexism, xenophobia spewed at Trump rallies. Again, no surprise here.
And while many of us that saw this coming are not in shock or awe about the aftermath of Trump’s election, preaching to the crowd of folks that tried to prevent this from happening doesn’t help either. Preaching to the crowds that agree with us can only go so far. This election could be described as polarizing, but that implies that our nation had not already picked sides. This election was an opportunity to correct the centuries of oppressive White intentions and mistakes, but we saw the exit polls. Bee’s segment was great, and I’m a fan, but as always what are White people going to do about it besides expecting us to pick up the pieces?