Trump didn’t invent racism. You did

Hannah L. Drake is new contributor here at BGIM Media. She is an author, poet and spoken word artist. Follow her at and on Twitter at hannahdrake628.

Another day and yet another headline of #BBQBecky’s calling the police on Black people for existing, another incident of police brutality, racial slurs shouted on a subway, a hate crime in Kentucky that left two Black people dead, a nation that is buckling underneath the weight of racism and oppression. For Black people, this is just another day in America. When Trump was elected in 2016, Black people didn’t wake up and think, “Oh wow, we are about to face racism.” We merely understood what was already hard for us, was about to become even more difficult.

However, what we inherently knew, many white people slowly and painstakingly started to realize November 2016. It wasn’t the knowledge of the history of slavery that made them understand. It wasn’t the years of Jim Crow laws that made white people understand. It wasn’t the racial terror lynching’s, seeing Black bodies swaying in the trees, that made white people understand. It wasn’t the beating of Rodney King that made them understand. It wasn’t the murders of Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and many others that made them understand.

In fact, if white people will be honest, what made white people begin to understand that something was amiss in America, was that their comfort was being disrupted. Many white people ignored the blood running in the street from murdered Black bodies because they had yet to be inconvenienced.

And now that their comfort has been disrupted and Trump trampled on and cracked their rose-colored glasses, you would think they can no longer avoid the truth. Still, they lie to themselves when they see blatant acts of racism. Over and over again, social media is flooded with comments saying, “This is Trump’s America.” Newsflash, this is just AMERICA. As much as I believe Donald Trump is a racist, stop blaming racism on Trump. Racism is woven into the very fabric of this nation. Black people have told you about racism long before 2016. Trump didn’t invent racism. Trump was able to use racism to his advantage because he knew it would work. Why? Because America is racist. Every time I see someone say, “Well, you know Trump made America racist,” I feel like screaming. That shows me that you have learned nothing! That shows me that you have been asleep at the wheel. If you believe that Trump instituted racism in America, wake up! You have been in a Starbucks-induced gentrified coma for far too long.

Trump did not create racism. He used racism to his advantage knowing that while on the surface many white people appeared to be open to diversity and inclusion, in their hearts, they felt just like him.

Donald Trump did not invent racism. You did.

At least you perpetuated it.

How you ask?

  • Every time your co-worker made a racist joke, and you remained silent.
  • When your father called Black men niggers, and you said nothing.
  • When you slept with your Black boyfriend but wouldn’t take him home to meet your family.
  • When you knew your Black co-worker was making less money than you for doing the same job, and you said nothing.
  • When you were in a position to give a Black family a loan to buy a home, and you denied them because you didn’t think they could afford it.
  • When you thought sleeping with a Black person meant you couldn’t be racist.
  • When you followed Black people around the store because you thought they were stealing.
  • When you racially profiled a Black person and assumed they didn’t belong in your neighborhood, so you called 911.
  • When you clutch your purse when a Black person walks by.
  • When you harass Black people on social media.
  • When you attempt to justify a Black person being killed by the police.
  • When you label a Black girl as a grown woman.
  • When you say, “Not me” when Black people attempt to explain systemic racism.
  • When you consider a Black teenager in a hoodie a thug.
  • When you steal content from Black creatives and take the credit.
  • When you don’t refer to the Black person that has been a source of education on race relations and pretend you came up with the information in your article.
  • When you post hashtags saying #TrustBlackWomen and do the complete opposite of what Black women say.
  • When you tell Black people to just, “Shut up and dribble a ball,” when they have an opinion about politics.
  • When you refuse to stand with Black people shouting Black Lives Matters.
  • When you say, “If they would have just complied” when Black people are combatting police brutality.
  • When you tell Black people, “Slavery was so long ago, get over it.”
  • When you say, “Why are you playing the ‘race card?’”

The list is just a sampling of the endless of ways that you have perpetuated racism. While you are you so quick to point the finger at Donald Trump, please tell me: How many fingers are you pointing at yourself? While I agree we have a man in office that is a racist and supports racism; it is easy to make him the scapegoat without examining your own heart.

The Bible says, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

You do not have to be a Confederate flag-waving, tiki torch-lighting, KKK robe-wearing racist to hold oppressive viewpoints. It only takes a little racial bias to work throughout the whole batch.

Examine yourself.

To place racism at the feet of Donald Trump is taking the easy way out as if that erases history and absolves you. You are living in some delusional world that makes you think, “If we just get rid of Trump this nation will stop being racist.” Who told you that lie? After Trump, there is still work to do and that works starts with you. Moreover, the first step is to look in a mirror and be willing to accept the reflection of the good, the bad and the ugly. I challenge you to stop placing all your focus on Trump and focus on yourself. Because by focusing solely on Trump, you are trying to find a scapegoat. And that is the easy route. However, there isn’t just some big bad racist man, and if we get rid of him all will be right with the world. After Trump is long out of office, we will still be fighting racism. If you are in it for real, prepare for the long haul, and the first step begins with you.

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Image by Adi Goldstein from Unsplash

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