Wednesday night as I scrolling down on my Twitter feed, I saw the video of y’all president’s treacherous rally in Greenville, North Carolina. In terror, I witnessed Trump’s mostly lily-white supporters chant “Send her back! Send her back!”
That “her” they were referring to was Rep. Ilhan Omar, the freshman Congresswoman from Minnesota. Fighting back tears, I watched them call for the deportation of an American citizen by screaming for the Somali-born politician to basically go back to Africa.
Trump, who had spent minutes lying about Omar, sat there for minutes, basking in the glory of the crowd’s explicit xenophobia and racial hated, not once trying to reel them in or correct their ignorance. But in all honesty, why would he? The crowd is merely operating from a “monkey-see, monkey do” mantra, validating the very words he tweeted days earlier.
Now it’s no secret that Trump isn’t the brightest of the bunch (he once thought Frederick Douglass was still alive), but when it comes to this right here, he knows exactly what he is doing. He knows that he is not only putting Ilhan’s life in danger, but the lives of the other members of the squad—all women of color.
He just doesn’t give a f**k.
He also knows that his dog whistles are nothing more than the raw racist meat his ravenous rabid base craves. It’s why they voted for him in 2016 and it’s how he plans on getting reelected in 2020.
From birtherism to Charlottesville to calling Black athletes, “sons of bitches” to constantly berating Black women by questioning their IQs, this President has emboldened the lowest common denominator of this nation, the ultimate scum of America.
They no longer have to hide their bias behind closed doors or on their private Facebook pages because this trifling President, the leader of the Free World, has amplified their voices. Gone are the constraints of “political correctness” because #45 and his cabinet of deplorables have given the Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the everyday racists the permission to hate out in the open for everyone to see.
Trump, the son and husband of an immigrant, has legitimized their hate, a hate that existed way before and during Obama and will be here way post-Trump. See, hate is the thread that keeps the fabric of this country intact, the whip used to keep us in “our place.” And this rhetoric of “going back to Africa” is part of their dangerous attempt to gaslight us into silence.
Sadly, regardless of where we were born, all folks of color have encountered this bigoted nonsense.
My first time was when I was 14-years-old. During a conversation about racism, the father of a white childhood friend stressed that Black folks, especially the uppity and well-educated ones (like my family) “should be grateful to be here” because it was better than the alternative. You know: Living in the jungles of Africa starving and sleeping in huts.
So in the same way I tried to not cry watching the Ilhan video, I did the same back then. Only saying something to effect that we never had a choice to be here because we were forced to be slaves. Granted, that’s not the strongest retort, but at that age, that’s all I had. I didn’t have the language, knowledge or education to really push back and school him. Nor did I have the courage to tell him to kiss my ass.
But I do now.
Some 25-plus-years later after that sobering incident, I am still here, “complaining” about racism (sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.) and standing my ground in a county that too often tells Black women, regardless of the Diaspora, that we do not belong here.
But as Omar Tweeted after the rally, “I am where I belong…and you’re just gonna have to deal.”
And deal they will.
Black women have built, molded and fought for the very land white folks stole and occupied. Since jump, we have taken to streets, created and ran social justice movements and essentially risked our lives in order to make this country a better place not just for us, but for everybody.
So Trump and his cult can continue to try spin our activism and resilience into some sort of act of treason (as if we obstructed justice and allegedly colluded with Russia to influence a presidential election), but we ain’t going no damn where.
We are the true patriots. And quiet as it’s kept, so much of what is good and just and pure about this nation is because of our contributions, brilliance and utter magic.
So I #StandWithIlhan, not just for her, but for all the other Black women in America who fight tirelessly to carve out spaces for ourselves and our communities in a country hell-bent on denying us our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.