Trump’s victory is unsurprising in racist America

By Elisheva Azarael

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President-elect Donald Trump looks on in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in their first public step toward a transition of power in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President-elect Donald Trump looks on in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in their first public step toward a transition of power in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

People of color, particularly Black Americans, shouldn’t be surprised in the least by Donald Trump’s presidential victory.  Although part of me feels like we shouldn’t be acting like we haven’t already survived, despite vicious attempts to destroy us, I can understand the shock. It’s the same thing as saying no matter how much one can prepare for death, you’re never really ready.  We’ve been preparing for different forms of death for hundreds of years.  And yet, here we are in fear, though our fears have morphed into realities time and time again through Jim Crow, lynchings, police brutality (which has been elevated into its own version of lynching), and discriminatory administrations and courts.

The most frustrating part of it all is that the toughest blows against us have often been from people who were holding our hands, claiming allegiance, while snickering over their shoulders with racist America. This is exactly what Bill Clinton did when he played saxophone on a 1992 episode of “The Arsenio Hall Show,” and in another engagement, gave a speech on how we Blacks were so right to think the criminal justice system is quite unjust, citing, what I call, the one-in-three.  (A 2003 “special report” done by the Bureau of Justice says one-in-three Black men will experience jail in their lifetime, and within the past decade, the numbers haven’t changed. This was all another Washington “discovery” that Black folks figured out when our men got 10-year bids in penitentiaries for dealing with that barbaric crack when the civilized did powder.) And not long after he was elected, Clinton signed his notorious crime bill, increasing policing, granting state prisons with an amount of money Washington can never find for urban public schools, and finalizing the three-strikes-and-done deal which incarcerated some three-time offenders for life.

My grandmother just said over Thanksgiving that Clinton’s administration increased jobs for Black people. Yes, partially because many of us young Black women then weren’t competing with our imprisoned husbands and brothers. And I imagine, as a single Black woman and daughter of a single mother whose partner was incarcerated for several years, many lives of single Black women (especially those with children) in the 1990s were made that much more complicated due to many of our men’s absences. (Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow” explains all this in more sophisticated detail.) And guess who called himself the “drug czar” back in 2014, crediting himself for uplifting Crime Bill’s policies? It was none other than our dear old Vice President, Joe Biden. Phew, Barack Obama just barely grazed it. And no, Joe isn’t getting my vote if he runs in 2020.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was another beloved president, but his 1935 Social Security Act excluded domestic workers (maids: Black women) and agricultural laborers (40 percent of Black men). He also opted not to pass an anti-lynching bill. Yes, all the dead Black bodies hanging from trees in our grandparents’ day and the bodies bleeding onto the streets in our day (most recently, former National Football League player Joe McKnight) could’ve been outlawed. But Franklin D. Roosevelt said no, because he was afraid of sabotaging his own political standing.  You’ve just got to sell those n—— when it comes to protecting your votes, you know?

But all jokes aside, Washington has been two-timing Black Americans since we got here (in chains). And from what it looks like, we wouldn’t have seen any better change with Hillary Clinton than we’re about to see with Trump. Hillary was so gung-ho for Bill’s strategy that she was collecting money because of all our men her husband stacked in jails like sardines until October of last year. In comparison, Eleanor Roosevelt was apparently in favor of not killing Black people for no reason. (Why, thank you, Eleanor—of course, only if the rumor is true.)

Ultimately, I’m actually glad Trump won. Yup, I said it. I’m also someone who’s tired of Washington’s lies. Now we can’t excuse anybody. We undoubtedly know where we stand in America’s priorities. And perhaps this will be the spark that gets Black people angry enough to not allow politicians to take advantage of our vulnerability in the future (of course, if we have a future). If the apocalypse arrives, and we go first, at least we can say we weren’t surprised.

Elisheva Azarael is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]