By Tekita Bankhead
Fair warning. This isn’t a lollipops-and-rainbows-let’s-sing-Kumbaya post. This is an honest, vulnerable, and transparent expression of the internal processing of my post-election emotions.
It’s the evening of November 6th: the day of some of the most impactful midterm elections I can recall in my adult life. I’m sitting in a coffee shop with my homegirl. One earbud focused on our conversations around work and the other earbud tuned in to CNN election results as they begin to roll in. I’m not going to recount all the details—ya’ll were there. The stories of Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams (Note: as of 12:30 AM CST, this state election STILL doesn’t have a final outcome and Sis is fighting hard so, fingers crossed, baby Jesus!), among several other Black politicians running for office, had initially begun to restore my hope that a significant change could be imminent. Thankfully, there ended up being some wins with a multitude of women of color and members of the LGBTQIA community gaining historic wins in addition to the Democratic Party regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Undoubtedly, this will shift the momentum on several necessary changes (and hopefully an impeachment) with y’all’s President. However, with each projection and shady voting report in Florida and Georgia, two of the most high profile governor races poised to make history, my heart drops, my breath quickens, and my Mississippi upbringing reminds me yet again…
White racists, especially in the South, will go to the literal ends of the earth to make sure Black people don’t receive the opportunities that we deserve.
I can’t help but think about the trauma of the 2016 presidential elections. I remember being at a watch party where our optimistic champagne flutes slowly turned to whiskey shots of horror. I went home, fell asleep, and rolled over to Trump giving a presidential address in the middle of the night and was CERTAIN I was having a nightmare. The problem is that I haven’t been able to wake up for 2 years.
In these two years, our country has watched our government fumble under narcissism and incompetence entrenched in ignorant privilege and misguided entitlement. And while many have fought noble efforts in undoing the continual damage of our national leadership, Black women have consistently been relied on as the saviors. We always end up trying to save this country, especially when an overwhelming number of White women continue to vote against their own best interests. Even worse, the federal ivory tower of good old boys will work every suppressive tactic in their arsenal to not only maintain the oppressive system of white supremacy but to keep out any Black leadership that can realistically dismantle it.
I recognize the victories that we are clinging to with everything we have left, but still…
We showed up in record numbers. We watched our Black leaders, especially in Florida and Georgia, run groundbreaking and game-changing campaigns. We’ve canvassed. We’ve volunteered. We’ve posted on social media. We’ve marched. We’ve protested. We’ve boycotted. We’ve spoken up. We’ve remained silent. We’ve had our hands up. We’ve kneeled down. We’ve reclaimed our time. We’ve survived bombs. Death threats. ACTUAL attacks.
Right now, I still can’t help being disappointed. Again, I’m sure there’s some hope, but right now, I honestly don’t want to find a bright side just yet. I don’t want to work the system. I don’t want to have a dialogue. Hate makes people selectively blind and deaf so it’s hard to imagine swift progress. I don’t want to be patient. I don’t want to urge others to be civil (which translates to passive compliance if we’re being really real). I don’t want to play the game. I don’t want another watch party. I don’t want another star-studded campaign. I don’t want any more rousing rallies with dynamic soundbites.
I want racists to, once and for all, be held accountable for their brazen disregard for communities of people who they THINK are beneath them.
Tonight wasn’t a total loss. With a little time, I will be able to fully celebrate that. I just need to see REAL, FAIR, HONEST change..,
But this is America.