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Dear marginalized people and #BernieOrBust

For marginalized people and #BernieOrBust,

News outlets and undecided voters around this country accuse Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton of being "two evils" that American citizens must make the difficult decision of choosing between. This is an entirely misleading representation. If we sincerely reflect on the societal flaws that plague our country, most importantly its unrelenting sexism, it is unrealistic to have expected a female candidate in 2016 to have passively gained a reputation as strong as hers. Constantly under scrutiny incomparable to that of White male politicians, Clinton has maintained a record of compassion, realizing her ideals with grit and fight. I will refrain from speaking on her ability, but rather the importance of electing her—that is going to the booth November 8th and voting Hillary’s ticket— to stop “the Donald” from taking office, because even more important than her reputation is the fact that she is in no way the sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, hate monger that Donald Trump with the Republican platform is.

White backlash is resistance to Black demands, claiming that these demands are unfair or illegitimate. This resistance not only attempts to destroy these demands, but advocates for a restoration of antiquated, conservative values. The backlash of this new era has resulted in a candidate whose values date back to those of Jim Crow, and for a person of color this is a dangerous time (not that we are unfamiliar with times like these). The idea that Black people’s demand for fair treatment diminishes the ability to live well for White people is gravely ignorant and the defense of one’s White privilege is a racist endeavor, for it implies the idea that one deserves better treatment for one’s race. Black people simply desire to be treated equally with no regard to White status.

White America completely and unfortunately dictates the flow of power in this country. This is clearly articulated by the fact that Black Americans only make up 13% of it. White people are not at risk of losing any rights or just treatment. The notion that Black people are somehow protesting in spite of White people is unfathomable, when we are, in fact protesting for ourselves. White privilege, which conservatives have perpetuated since the dawn of colonialism into the 21st century, results in a dictatorial self-importance (completely apparent in Donald Trump), because for this obscure reason White people have been more rewarded by our so-called meritocracy. Furthermore, it allows conservatives to believe in this made-up attack on White being. So I ask White conservatives to stop and reevaluate. Understand that there is nothing a Black person can do in this country, based on sheer demographics and power roles, that would harm White livelihood.

People of color cannot allow White backlash of this caliber to manifest itself in such a high political position. President Obama's Blackness has intensified these feelings of a totally unnecessary defense of White rights (or Christian rights, or men’s rights, or straight rights). We must take a stand against this or we will be thrown back into the 1960s. I look to the murders of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., leaders who entreated the American government for rights—or at least the right to run our own communities away from White supremacism. The 1960s, when COINTELPRO began the destruction of a Black organization which unequivocally used American rights to fight for their people. Today we have White girls pleading with the Supreme Court to repeal Affirmative Action, the single line of defense against discrimination in schools and workplaces, because she was not qualified for college acceptance—a strong testament to the self-importance derivative of privilege. We watched as Republicans decided to block any Supreme Court Justice that President Obama would appoint, regardless of that fact that he has the power to appoint a conservative. We saw the current Republican nominee with many conservative supporters question our first Black president’s citizenship. We continue to see White privilege disrespect the idea of political correctness because conservatives can no longer enjoy publically offending people without being criticized. All images, words, and thoughts contribute to the subconscious of our society, a society that has torn Black culture while continuing to thrive off of its unique qualities. White backlash is without a doubt the result of years of unchecked White privilege, but I did not expect it to manifest itself so strongly in a demagogue — one who represents conservatives by use of moot points.

There is no room for so many steps backwards, so there is no room for Bernie or Bust. We cannot watch the Black Lives Matter movement be destroyed like the Black Panthers Party. We cannot watch the destruction of immigrant families, so White conservatives feel a bit more powerful. We cannot watch the defunding of HBCUs, resulting in even fewer institutions for Black people to exist as themselves, watch their culture thrive and avoid this supremacist, capitalist society that determines quality of life. We cannot allow ourselves to slip backwards. Hillary Clinton is not Donald Trump. We must all register to vote, as young people, as Black people, as queer people, as women, as people of color, as disabled people and as Muslims to put an end to this new wave of White backlash that is a threat to our security, when all we've asked for was fair treatment. As Bernie so aptly said this last Monday at the Democratic National Convention, “By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that based on her ideals and her leadership Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.”

I’m with her, Quinn, 18, Registered Voter


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