An Open Letter to Betrayed White Voters
Dear White People,
That knot in your stomach and that lump in your throat. That feeling of shock and anger and confusion and horror and fear and frustration. Like your country and your people and your community betrayed you. Like the home you thought you had feels unwelcoming. Like you are voiceless and helpless. Like you were thrown away. Like you now fear for the safety of your loved ones. Like your security and stability have been compromised. Like you cannot believe you severely overestimated the decency of the American people. Like you know that you know what is good and what is right but no matter how loud you scream it you are only faced with more opposition. Like you finally fear the institution and all that which is bigger than you. You have now entered the mind of a minority.
I know you know that’s true. I see you look at me differently now. I see you cognizant enough to check in with me to see how I’m doing. Like you finally feel the true and genuine empathy to my dismissiveness because you know it now too. White men I see you take this especially hard. This is the first time some of you truly feel shut out by the only society you know. Minorities begged for this acknowledgement for decades. And now you are finally here.
The betrayal hurts the most. You gave everything you had to your community and your society and they turned their backs in return. Your trust is shattered and your frustration is palpable. By people you know and love who look and sound just like you. You’ll get used to it. We function daily with this, some of us at exponential rates. The hurt and the pain never fades, but you will process it enough to keep going.
You talked for years about acknowledging your privilege before, but for the first time you really feel the shock of what it’s like not to have it. You still have that privilege. This time we want you to use it. For us. Infiltrate your community with it. Help internally reform the institution. Have uncomfortable conversations with yourselves and your friends and your loved ones. Do the things we can’t do because our resources are limited and our voices are not wanted. The things that would put minorities in actual danger. We cannot be expected to empathize and understand our oppressors anymore.
Now that you’re finally here, we need you to help us carry shoulder this burden. As our backs weigh heavier and heavier with the choices we didn’t make, we pass it off to you. And you must be there to take it. Not doing so is complicity to the ugly things you feel betrayed by in this moment. And if you ever feel like walking away from us again, or succumbing to the complacency of your white comfort- remember this feeling. Remember this moment. And don’t dare forget it can happen to you too.