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Up, Up you mighty race!—Marcus Garvey

Trump White Supremacy

And Still I Rise: Will You?—Arica Coleman

When they go low, we go high!—Michelle Obama

I remember conversations with my father who always complained about Fox News. The violent pulsation of the veins in his neck and lines in his forehead would vibrate through the telephone registering an immeasurable intensity in my ear as he angrily snapped, "They make me sooooooo mad!" One day I said to him, "Soooooo why do you watch? If they make you as mad as you say they do, why don't you turn the channel?" Eureka!

I hear the same complaints from liberals and progressives. "OMG, did you hear what Fox News, Laura Ingram, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, said?” I always respond, "No, I don't listen to them." But far too many do, claiming they must stay abreast of what the other side is thinking knowing full well that conservatives don’t think.

Truth is, too many Americans see politics as entertainment. Case in point, many liberals and progressives prayed for Trump to run for president because, “it would be so much fun! During the primary season, they could not get enough of the vile soul that is Trump—watching every cable news show, reading every article and blog about him—then tweeting and posting about every foul move he made and word he said, LMAO--ad nausea. They contributed to cable news ratings unaware that they were accomplices to Trump’s rise.

It was so funny then; but when he clinched the Republican nomination and the potential of a Trump presidency seemed more a reality than a show, the laughter came to a screeching halt. On November 11, 2015, Larry Wilmore of the Nightly Show declared, “This isn’t funny anymore.” Anymore? Trump was never funny. He was always dangerous. It was clear the day he announced his candidacy. By the time the laughing gas wore off, Trump was at the gate of White House.

Hence, while many are grieving his triumph, some are also having to deal with their own personal guilt for enabling hate. This is what happens when bigotry is not immediately put in check. Now laughter has been turned into a fear as tangible as a whirlwind. As the saying goes, “Be careful what you pray for!”

Many who claim to hate him, can’t stop watching, tweeting, and posting about him—still; that they find the 1000th malfeasance more shocking than the first is both laughable and pathetic.

Yet, the obsession continues now that Trump is president-elect. Many who claim to hate him, can’t stop watching, tweeting, and posting about him—still; that they find the 1000th malfeasance more shocking than the first is both laughable and pathetic. They are only feeding their worst fears of what is to come; and if they don’t unwind and unplug, they are going to drive themselves crazy. I refuse to accompany them on that ride.

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Now it is certainly not my place to tell any grown person what to do. Nonetheless, I will tell you what I am going to do.

I recognize that we live in fearful times and I am in no way minimizing the severity of the moment; and I am certainly not suggesting that we stick our heads in the sand and hope that it will all just go away; but I'll be damned if I am going to let the fear of the present make me forget the lessons of the past—lessons taught by my ancestors who endured far worse times than these. As Afro-Indian scholar bell hooks stated in her essay “Revolutionary Renegade,” it is “The dead [who] call us to remember. Some of us have not forgotten these teachings.”

I have not and will not forget the teachings of Tubman, Truth, Douglas, Du Bois, Hurston, Hughes, Baldwin, Heights, Baker, Colvin, Parks, King, X, Evers; or my familial ancestors, the Grays and Thompsons. I will take my lesson from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who taught us, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Indeed, as fear distorts reality.

Trump’s election to the U. S. presidency is the consequence of years of racial fear-mongering. Unfortunately too many whites, especially the overwhelming number of white women who voted for Trump, have taken the bait. Last week’s election appears to have fulfilled the prophetic words of Belle Kearney who stated during a National American Woman Suffrage Association meeting in 1903, “The enfranchisement of women would insure immediate and durable white supremacy honestly attained. . . the enfranchisement of women would settle the race question in politics.”

Indeed, white-supremacist-hetero-ablest-patriarchy is alive, but I am not convinced that it is well. Electing Trump was an act of desperation engineered by those fearing the inevitable— “the fall of white un-civilization.” Dr. Eddie Glaude brilliantly captured this in a recent Time article stating:

But the writing is on the wall, and all the racial anguish expressed this election cycle reflects this fact: that we are, even with the election of Donald Trump, in the death throes of the idea of White America. We will have to prepare ourselves for, at least, the next four years. Organize. Fight. And ensure that our children are safe. I am not even sure how long the weeping and gnashing of teeth will last. Hell, James Baldwin wrote in Harper’s Magazine in 1961 that the questions that America faced about the death of segregation—a symbol of White America’s stranglehold—were “how long, how violent and how expensive the funeral is going to be.” And here we are in 2016 still trying to put it all in the ground.

But as sure as you born, to borrow the old saying, it is all going in the ground!

White supremacy and its accompanying isms may have won the battle, but it can and will not win the war. The darkness always comes before the dawn. Hence, in this dark hour I choose to, as Cornel West so beautifully stated, “love my way through the darkness,” by taking the words of our beloved ancestor Maya Angelou as my instruction:

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


Arica L. Coleman