To the family Trumpists

You chose party over country and family. You poisoned yourselves heart, mind, and soul with grievance, supremacy, and the Southern Strategy. You are too scared to climb out of ignorance and see, for the first time truly see, your own family–we generations that succeed you.

Instead, you keep company with the craven and the vile, with the propagandists in your TV, with those who engineered and share your bitter meagerness of soul. You are not really here with us. You are unmoored from principle, adrift in a sad nowhere, hurling condemnations at fiction.

You have brought idiocracy upon us with your willful, malevolent, and petulant ignorance. Scared, sheltered, and coddled, you yearn for a safe space in a stunted past where your mediocrity was enough. You seek to drag us back to that morally impoverished yesterday at the expense of our lives and identities.

Instead of rising with the times, you miseducated yourself with an authoritarian diet of paranoia, conspiracy, grievance, and hate. You are so terrified of everyone and everything, that you stand with white supremacy and authoritarian kleptocracy while your country and family suffer. You are traitors to both.

You are beyond moral rehabilitation and beneath respect. Your minds are immobilized, ambered in fear and hate.

Turn off the TV and interrogate the disposition and direction of your souls.

I will state flatly that the bulk of this country’s white population impresses me, and has so impressed me for a very long time, as being beyond any conceivable hope of moral rehabilitation. They have been white, if I may so put it, too long; they have been married to the lie of white supremacy too long; the effect in their personalities, their lives, their grasp of reality, has been as devastating as the lava which so memorably immobilized the citizens of Pompeii. They are unable to conceive that their version of reality, which they want me to accept, is an insult to my history and a parody of theirs and an intolerable violation of myself.

–James Baldwin

Everything you say is rooted in the narratives of white resentment, grievance, and oppression. This is ahistorical myth-making. You, dear family, are not oppressed and do not understand oppression. You make a mockery of it by claiming it. You are easy marks, useful idiots, and Good Germans allowing yourselves to be manipulated by the politics of resentment. You are wind-up automatons for the Southern Strategy.

I know that this won’t change your mind because nothing changes your mind when it comes to your imagined oppression. Like Archie Bunker, you believe every negative stereotype you encounter, albeit without his occasional moments of empathy and introspection. Those moments make for good TV. You are not good TV. You are distillations of decidedly bad TV.

I’m not speaking to change your mind. I am speaking to let you know we see you. We see who you are. We see what you are, and we reject it.

#ItsOnUs. It’s on those of us with bigots in our families to confront white resentment and the myth of white oppression. It’s on us to dismantle white supremacy. It’s on us to ask family to decide what side they are on. Are they on the side of swastikas and torches? Are they on the side of bigotry and hate? It’s on us to ask and confront.

White supremacy survives because it benefits all white people, even those not carrying torches and invoking Nazi slogans. It’s on us to break the chain.

And don’t feel guilty if you can’t confront your family, especially if you’re marginalized within the family. Some families are abusive and will use their leverage over you. Do want you can while staying safe.


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