The cacophony of celebratory sounds that rang out last week in reaction to Joe Biden’s win was based on a sundry of emotions—ranging from relief at ending a racist regime dominated by white men who were fanatical about protecting their own wealth and privilege to jubilance over a historic win for Kamala Harris, the first woman and African American to be elected vice president. We were all celebrating our new white savior with a side of sister and new hopes that a brighter day was on the horizon.
That day has not come just yet.
The celebration only fueled the anger and resentment of a cadre of white men who’ve made it their dual mission in life to be both sycophants to a man in orange and to hinder any semblance of progress in this country. The days that followed Biden’s victory speech were riddled with egregious examples of toxic white masculinity. White men tripled down by defying, denying and resisting a Democratic win, expressing the lowest form of sore loser-ism this country may have ever seen from the Republican Party. The collective temper tantrum was comically described by The Root’s senior editor, Stephen Crockett, in his GTFOH Trump Watch column:
It’s really been a joy to watch these grown people who believe that their voice is enough to stop a tidal wave. It’s kind of like my 3-year-old son who believes if he throws himself around the house, he won’t have to take a bath. I have no idea why he enjoys being dirty or why he hates all water inside the bathtub, but my job as a father is to gently show him that, try as he might, he still takes a bath before bed. Those are just the rules.
So as much as these powerful white people throw a temper tantrum all over America with their cries of “Biden ain’t my president,” guess what? You still have to take a bath.
I envy my colleagues who can analyze this president from a comedic lens. I really do. I’m not laughing yet. My faith was truly tested and my worst fears realized when I saw this president’s depraved and false accusations of a stolen election. I may have even shivered a bit when I saw his obsequious coddlers legitimizing his claims, with the most sickening example coming from the secretary of state, who promised “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” This may have been a headline-grabbing antic, but I perceived it as much more, especially when more headlines came announcing the president’s firing of top Pentagon officials and replacing them with loyalists. What is Trump’s endgame with these attempts to dismantle democracy?
Willful white men found an even lower rung on the bar as they stood by to support and encourage these self-righteous acts of tyranny and treason. The message was loud and clear: These men were telling all progressives and people of color that there is no place for us in this country. The message was no different from the Jim Crow era. Here we are in 2020 with Jim Crow’s sons and grandsons still taking on the mantle of white oppression—proudly and loudly. The tactics were more direct, deliberate and unhinged. And this president made it OK. White men have taken off their proverbial and actual masks—the KKK and COVID.
Over the past four years, this alt-right regime helped white men make progress for themselves. The fruits of this progress will affect Black and brown people for generations: extremely conservative court appointments, including three new justices on the now unbalanced Supreme Court; overly aggressive gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics that favor Republicans; the willful negligence during the worst pandemic in modern history, resulting in nearly 250,000 deaths. The most diabolical act, however, was the attempt to relax COVID restrictions when early reporting revealed that Black and brown lives, as well as Black-owned businesses, were being disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Was this a willful act of human and corporate genocide against people of color?
There have been plenty of dark clouds imposed by the men in white and orange. I’ve chosen, however, to cut through the white male noise and chase a few rainbows. There were plenty of rainbows on view from this election: Black women. Black women from HBCUs. HBCUs. Millennial voters. Brown voters. Elder statesmen with character. Arizona, Pennsylvania and a blue Georgia—oh my.
I’m not delusional enough to believe that all white men are evil, nor am I overly optimistic to believe Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have the elixir to cure all that ails Black and brown communities. I do identify with the words from political pundit Van Jones, a man who I originally thought to be overly obsessed with the white male gaze.
“Well it’s easier to be a parent this morning,” he replied. “It’s easier to be a dad this morning. It’s easier to tell your kids, character matters, being a good person matters.”
Ultimately, character, dignity, compassion and love are the colorful characteristics that make the rainbow enuf.