To the family Trumpists

Poisoned

You chose party over country and family. You poisoned yourselves heart, mind, and soul with grievance, supremacy, the Southern Strategy, and the Confederate Catechism. 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 tatty 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

White Resentment

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. Nothing penetrates your deflection, false equivalence, fear-based socialization, projection, and defensive fetishes. 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 your racial hatred, your indifference to suffering, and your refusal to examine systemic causes. We see what you are made of, and we reject it all.

It’s On Us

#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 or invoking Nazi slogans. It’s on us to break the chain. Our parents and grandparents may be lost to supremacy, but our children must and will know better.

Abusive Families

Not everyone can confront their family. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t call out those closest to you, especially if you’re marginalized within the family. Some families are dangerous and abusive and will use their leverage over you. Do want you can while staying safe.

Actual Oppression

White people holding torches below the caption "Imagine if these people ever faced actual oppression."
Imagine if these people ever faced actual oppression.

Image source: Oppression

Pyramid showing examples of overt white supremacy (Socially Unacceptable) at the top and Covert White Supremacy (Socially Acceptable) at the bottom.
Overt and Covert White Supremacy

Image source: Loyal Hall on Twitter: “Nazis marching openly, terrorizing, killing people is just the tip of the white supremacy iceberg. It is supported by a wider culture.”

Know Thyself, Own Thyself, Free Thyself

Speaking to people’s values is a good place to start when you’re trying to persuade someone of something, but conservative Evangelicals (who are a type of Christian fundamentalist) are masters of deflection and false equivalence. As a result of their fear-based socialization, they are given to succumbing to intense manifestations of psychological defense mechanisms such as projection and defensive fetishes. Fundamentalism is a totalizing ideology that goes to the very core of a person’s identity. In a healthy democratic society, fundamentalists would be politically marginalized, as their dangerous rejection of pluralism and concomitant illiberal tendencies are essentially incompatible with democracy.

Source: Where Do Ex-Evangelicals Come From? – Not Your Mission Field

They will know we are evangelicals by our racial hatred. By indifference to suffering. By our refusal to examine systemic causes. By our fragility and constant projection.

You put your ignorance on full display with your insistence that your knowledge of race relations, most of which originates from movies, oral tradition, and talk radio, and none of which originates from actual experiences with black people in black spaces away from your airtight white bubble, is more valuable than people who have lived the very experiences you condemn.

Source: Ex-Evangelical Conversations: Tori Glass to White Christians on the Anniversary of Michael Brown’s Murder – Not Your Mission Field