Zac Anger's Blog



Tags: politics

Note: my politics have evolved over the last four years, and I wrote this while very scared and angry. I'm leaving it here anyway.

This is an elaboration on a tweet from last night.

I was born male, and I identify as male. That's pretty convenient for me. I'm white, which is probably very convenient for me. I make a conscious effort to be aware of my privilege, but I probably fuck up sometimes. I hope that whenever that happens, someone will call me out on it.

I was born in Baltimore, and went to a public school that I think was less than half white. That turned out to be a nice thing, because I never really understood what the big deal was about skin colour. My parents tell me I literally didn't understand that some people might think there was a difference between people with different coloured skin. And why would I? I was a kid, that's not a thing I should have to know.

My family moved to southern Pennsylvania when I was 11. South-Central PA is overwhemingly white, and has a large boomer population. One could easily go months at a time without seeing a black person, especially if one was homeschooled (which I was, because the local schools were some of the worst in the state).

When I was 19, I was working in the coffee shop in a local grocery store. I had just voted for the first time. Obama became President. The next morning, I went to work around 6:30, sold a newspaper to an older guy around 7. He sat down on a nearby bench and said to me "Can you believe they put a n----- in the White House?" This wasn't my first time encountering racism, but it was the first time I realised just how open people in that area were about it.

I worked at a guitar shop for a while. The guy who owned it was a stereotypical redneck, something straight out of a Far Side comic. To him, anyone non-white was nothing but an epithet, women existed to be objectified, and if he got a hint that someone wasn't straight, they wouldn't be allowed in his shop. Most of his days were spent smoking pot and looking at pictures of girls on the computer in his office.

I moved to Utah about a year ago. I didn't intend to stay here, because Utah is all of the bad things people say about it. It's also all of the good things people say about it—there are mountains and things, and if you're into that that's pretty nice—but it's extremely white, extremely Mormon, extremely dry, and extremely boring. It's a lot of the things I hated about Pennsylvania, except drier and with Mormons instead of Evangelicals.

I kind of thought, though, that being out here would be a bit of an escape from the 'culture' in Pennsylvania. James Carville described PA as being Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between, and that's pretty accurate. Utah's more like Salt Lake City and then a bunch of nothing mixed with Mormons, which isn't actually any better. Mormons are a little more laid-back about their racism and mysogyny, but it's still there. They're just encouraged not to show it off, because the LDS church doesn't want that public image. It's pretty clear based on their politics, though.

This election was not about anything except for hatred. A common statement is that Trump just 'tells it like it is,' but that's known to be bullshit. He's been the most dishonest Presidential candidate in the history of fact-checking, and Clinton has been one of the most factually accurate, ever, period. Straight talk has nothing to do with anything. There have also been numbers that say that Trump supports think the economy will do better under Trump, but generally folks actually worried about the economy will vote Democrat, probably because the economy tends to do better under Democrats.

Trump winning the electoral vote last night has nothing to do with policy. It was a message from the worst kind of people in this country that they want to be heard and want to be taken seriously. That they're afraid of people who don't look like them or have the same beliefs as them. People like that old man at the coffee shop, or various bosses I had in Pennsylvania. People who think they should have the right to openly discriminate against other people, people who are so unconcerned with facts that they sound exactly like characters in Idiocracy (link), calling people 'faggot' for being educated on a topic.

I'm a cis white male, and I'm sorry that a bunch of cis white males did this to this country. It's going to be really rough, especially at first when we have a red house and senate. We, collectively, all the people that have fought for LGBTQA rights and less discrimination and tried to defend against ignorance and won Clinton the popular vote, we need to hold on and survive this and support each other. We need to call each other out on our biases and abuse of privilege We need to not give up. We need to show each other, the country, and the world that America is not a country of hate.

There are folks on Twitter saying that this will be easy, that love and happiness and just get through it, and that's bullshit. This won't be easy. This is serious and dangerous and terrifying. This is bad news all around. But let's try, because we can't all just leave.