THE WORST KIND OF VALIDATION
I was 4 when I became a feminist. I was in the basement with my dad and older brother watching football, and they sent me upstairs to refill the popcorn. My mom marched me back down before I had the chance, told me to tell them to get it themselves.
On a dinner date a few weeks ago, I tell the guy we should all be angry feminists. He, a Black man, tells me anger is unproductive. He says he had to learn not to be angry a long time ago, and theorizes my anger is the result of novelty, as I’ve really just become a woman. I sit with this for a few days before I decide I disagree.
The source of my anger is intimacy.During a summer trip home, my dad makes a casual sexist remark. It is my last night home, so I try to brush it off. But it sits with me, and becomes a seed of anger watered regularly. We talk about it weeks later. My father says I heard wrong, misinterpreted. He then clarifies by repeating the sentiment almost verbatim.
Later, I tell him I am better at expressing anger than other emotions, clarify that his comment and lack of apology really hurt me.
“I don’t understand why I would apologize,” he says. “I am sorry you misunderstood what I was saying.”
My ex-boyfriend used to joke that women hear what they want to hear. My father must think the same thing. Perhaps they imagine me gathering sexist soundbytes like sea shells, just so I have raw materials to spin into art.After the election, it is sadness, not anger, that I weave together with words. When I tell my mother about my sadness, she replies with a verbal shrug. “People have always been like this,” she says. “It isn’t new.”
The source of my sadness, I’ve realized, is the fact that, deep down, there had also been a seed of doubt — part of me hoping I was being oversensitive, that I would grow out of it. This week has been the worst kind of validation. The validation brings no joy. The validation is drowning.
A RAY OF SUNSHINE
Dear President Obama,
I know it is somewhat unlikely you will ever see this, but I have hope this will reach you. My name is Truman Banjo Jones Duren. I live in Davis, California (west of Sacramento), and I am a fifth grader at Patwin Elementary. I am not writing this to tell you about myself. I am writing to say that on the 8th of November, I got more upset than I have ever been in my life. I am still very sad, but it would help me so insanely much if you end up responding to this. I think it might make us both feel better about the aftermath of this election.
On an unrelated topic, I just want to say you are the best president since Franklin Roosevelt. Probably the best period. I wrote a report on you when I was in fourth grade, and my teacher said it was the best.
Truman J. Duren
STRENGTH FROM DIVERSITY
I think that those people who voted for Trump should OWN the fact that they voted for a racist, sexist bigot. They think that he’s going to make their life better and that he’s one of them. He’s not; he doesn’t give a shit about them. He’s going to make their miserable lives far more difficult, and they can’t see that. It’s sad. Trump used racism to divide people and make them scared in the same way that the Nazis did this in Germany in the 1930s.
Our strength in America comes from our diversity, and our creativity. It was immigrants who made this country great, and we should never forget that. They do contribute positively to this country from one generation to the next. We should accept this, and move forward with this. In America, with the exception of the Native Americans, people or their forebearers came from somewhere else to be here, and we should never forget that, either.
Charles A. Fracchia Jr.
I am a disabled transgender woman. This election season, I did some precinct walking and visibility for Jane Kim, Kim Alvarenga, and London Breed, three strong women of color who were running against White men who have a history of screwing over low-income people.
And soon after I got gender-confirmation surgery through MediCal/local trans health services, I walked a precinct for Measures F and N in solidarity with youth and immigrants.
I supported Bernie in the primary, and would likely have gotten back to normal if Hillary won, despite my disappointment with her. But in terms of local races/issues, nothing might matter due to the rise of Trumpland. I don’t feel safe as a disabled trans woman, and I don’t feel like even doing hyperlocal activism like I did before.
With all that said, if there was a #Calexit ballot measure, I would vote YES.
Jordan Gwendolyn Davis
NORMALIZING RAPE CULTUREI’m not good at words sometimes, but today I woke up and for the first time in my life, I felt disgusted with my country. For the first time, I felt unwelcome in my country. For the first time, I questioned our democracy. How we could let this happen? I cried today. I mean I cried so hard my eyes are swollen. Because electing Donald Trump as President, to me, a U.S. and Mexican citizen and woman, means that my “fellow Americans” don’t like me, don’t want me here, and don’t respect me. I’m scared for the women of our country, that by allowing a sexual predator to win a presidency and classify his sexual assault as locker-room talk, we have lost our power and dignity to fight against sexism and continue to normalize rape culture. I’m scared that under a President Trump we will lose the right to our bodies and access to safe abortions and women’s health clinics. I’m scared for my Muslim bothers and sisters, that they now have a president who wants to ban them from their own country because of their religion. That they now live in a country OK with full-blown Islamophobia, that they are scared to practice their religion freely. I’m scared for my fellow Mexicans, my own people, our future. From the start, we have been the target of this hate, classified as drug dealers, criminals, and rapists by a rapist and criminal himself. We have been the scapegoat for the years of fuck-ups by presidents before. I’m scared for our environment, our planet, that attempts to reverse or slow down global warming are lost because Mr. Trump believes climate change is a made-up hoax created by China. Most of all, I’m scared that all of the hatred, bigotry, and pure nastiness that has come out of Donald Trump’s mouth was simplified to “mean things” by his supporters. But they are much more than mean things. They are the accumulation of years of suppressed racism that hid behind a sheet. Trump ripped that sheet off of America and showed how deep racism and segregation run in our nation. How easily can we be divided? How we are already divided. I can’t comprehend how he won. I can’t wrap my head around this. I can’t even formulate words to express how scared, sad, heartbroken, and concerned I am for my future, our future. It’s like a death in my family. Our country was on the cusp of progression, and we threw it away. We let hatred, racism, fear, and oppression win. What will we do now? What can we do now? What will we tell our children? What will we tell our grandchildren? When we look back at this moment in time, what will we have to say for ourselves?