Daryl Grigsby: Don’t ‘feel united,’ you say? | TheUnion.com

Daryl Grigsby: Don’t ‘feel united,’ you say?

In her opinion piece, Jo Ann Rebane spoke about how hard it is for Trump supporters like herself to “feel united” in light of her view they have been maligned and outcast.

We clearly have different views of the Trump administration. For her, it represents something positive.

For me, his administration was a toxic mix of division, hate, and an appalling call to white supremacy. In his Cabinet were Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller — both unapologetic about their calls to white superiority and domination.

My grandfather left Mississippi for fear of being lynched. As the first Black family on the block in Washington, D.C., our house was constantly vandalized by angry white neighbors.

And this is all not history or past. Friends of mine were attacked on Broad Street in Nevada City by flag-waving Trump supporters. I do not minimize the frightening nature of intolerance and violence.

Are all Trump supporters violent racists? I would say no. For clearly Rebane is not. However, from my perspective, she cannot evade some responsibility for supporting a candidate who clearly reached down into the depths of white racism and violence. Telling the violent Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,“ belittling Black freedom fighters like John Lewis, telling a violent Confederate flag-waving crowd, ”We love you,“ are to me calls that threaten my very existence.

She listed all the names she has been called and all the bad things people say about Trump supporters. But nowhere does she take any responsibility for being part of a movement that threatened Blacks, Muslims, Hispanics and frankly did little to nothing for the working class whites he claimed to represent.

Imagine, if you will, my perspective as a Black American: Thousands have been lynched, hundreds shot by police, millions incarcerated for charges whites are given a slap on the wrist for. And yet for hundreds of years we have been asked to feel “united.“ Frankly, we have done that — leading the civil rights movement, fighting for the right to vote, and participating fully in the American process.

I also believe that all those names she was called and discrimination she listed are not the common response among people who do not support Trump. I have hundreds of friends who do not support Trump, and no one I know says those things she listed.

As an African-American, I was taught from childhood on, by my parents and grandparents, never to judge all white people by the actions of a few,or even most. I would suggest she step back and not judge every Biden supporter with the characteristics she describes.

Every Black person in America can ask the same question as Rebane: “How am I supposed to feel united?” Yet we do, and we have, for 400 years.

I suggest she take a hard look at herself, look with compassion on those who have not benefited from being white in America, listen to others with experience unlike her own, and be part of the hard work to make America the nation it claims to be.

Finally, my biggest issue is that she bemoans all the bad things that have happened to her, but nowhere does she even faintly acknowledge she was part of a divisive and racist movement. I do not believe all who supported him, twice, are racist, but I do believe they and she cast a vote for white supremacy. That may not have been her intent, but that is what it was.

Clearly racism and white supremacy — and the violence and division and injustice that goes along with that — is not that important to her.

For me, it is a matter of life and death. For Rebane, it is an issue she can afford to overlook. I cannot afford that luxury. Vote for Trump, fine, but at least acknowledge what it means for those with darker skin. Be honest that those injustices are just not that important to you.

She asks in this context how can she follow the new president’s wishes. All he has done is talk about healing and unity. She says that is hard for her to do. Imagine how hard the past four years have been for me living under a president whose words and deeds brought out the worst of white supremacy and violence.

I would argue it will be a lot easier for her in the next four years than it was for me in the last four.

Daryl Grigsby lives in Nevada City.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User