It’s not often I stumble into the political foray, but I have no more silence left in me, and my typing fingers have got the best of me.
Now, the post title- am I trying to be controversial? Not in the slightest. Did I use those words just to get your attention? Nope. I actually believe we should be grateful for Trump. If you have to ask yourself why, then maybe you’re just not a woman, from an immigrant family, of a certain age, or maybe you’re just a person that never commingles with anyone outside of their socio-ideological group. Otherwise, everything Trump is saying you would have heard and experienced before, and you’d be grateful that he has brought his misogyny, racism, and bigotry to the biggest extravaganza on earth. What was once whispered in allies, hidden behind closed doors, and clothed in euphemism is now center stage, so we can all finally talk about it.
On Friday, prompted by Trump’s disgusting comments about grabbing women by the “pussy” because he “can”, author Kelly Oxford took to twitter and asked women to share the stories of sexual assault. Thousands of women tweeted back.
Would we be having this conversation if Trump hadn’t made those comments as a public figure. I’m not so sure. Indignation is a powerful motivator. In fact, I will list how I have experienced misogyny, racism, and bigotry in my own life:
- When I was 15, I was groped in the streets of New York City on the way to a dance class.
- At 16, I was physically assaulted by a man, resulting in a black eye & bruised cheek bone.
- I was 17 when at a party I was called a “dirty Mexican”.
- At a friend’s prom, at 19, I was called a “disgusting Indian”.
- During college, I was drugged twice.
- At 21, I was sexually assaulted by a “friend”.
- I was 30 and pregnant when a female superior at my then corporate job tried to convince me to take a demotion, because after all, ‘wasn’t it time I started to think about my family?’
- At 33, I found myself in an emotionally abusive relationship, where I was told things like “I deserved it” and “girls love to be treated like crap”. We don’t and I prefer to be called a woman.
Just last year, I was at lunch when seemingly out of nowhere an entire table started hurling racial slurs such as, but not limited to, “beaners”and “wetbacks”, and making comments such as “the latest Cuban are just as bad as blacks”. I politely mentioned that I did not want to listen to that kind of speech and excused myself from the table. You may ask why I didn’t “fight back”. Well, anyone who has ever been the ‘odd man out’ in a group spewing hate, it doesn’t usually end the way you’d like it. What I most remember from that day is that as I walked out the door, one man stood up and offered this, “I’m sorry you’re offended”. Let that sink in for a second. He took the blame completely off of the group, and placed it squarely on my shoulders. It’s eerily similar to Trump’s latest non-apology for joking about sexually assaulting women. In case you forgot, he said, “I apologize if anyone was offended.”
This is why I am grateful for Trump. We are now having the conversations we should have been having all along. This dialogue should be part of our every day, and beyond dialogue we should actively be working to make a difference.
You know what I did after that racist lunch? I went home and donated whatever money I had left to International Refugee Committee and donated shoes to immigrant children. We have to go beyond posting about how outraged we are about Trump’s comments and behavior. We must ask ourselves, ‘how am I contributing to this system that created him?’, and seek to do the opposite. It also includes watching and correcting our own thoughts and actions. None of us are innocent. Misogyny, bigotry, and racism are part of our own make-up as well as our cultural fabric. Thank you Trump for waking a sleeping giant. Our voices are greater together.
I love you my sisters & brothers. Fight the good fight!