By India Taina
“We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”James Baldwin
This is really hard to make funny, even for me. This topic is so far out of this world and people are so damn touchy about it (including myself, at times) and so bringing humor into this takes a really special kind of ninja. No fuck that, it takes a real samurai guru for this shit. And I’m literally at the level of the freaking Kung Fu Panda. But hey, we’ve all got to start somewhere. And I might as well start on the most polarizing topic in America, because it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t go balls deep right from the get go 🙂
So, the short answer as to whether you can be a Trump supporter and a friend of any POC, is YES. “India, what the hell?! This is a guide for Women of Color, is it crack that you smoke? You even have a James Baldwin quote right in the beginning, what is you doing baby?” Yeah, yeah, I know, just give me a sec, I’m about to get into the good stuff. So I think when the majority of liberals and people of color think of Trump supporters, we think of fat old white men with Southern accents and red MAGA hats shouting things that are really only communicable to those with the highest levels of idiocy in their bloodstreams. I know I’m not too far off when I say I speak for most people when I say that’s the most common image we associate Trump supporters with. But the thing is, those are just the ones we’ve given the spotlight to.
Believe it or not, young Black Trump supporters do exist. And in NUMBERS. Not to mention so do LGBTQ+ Trump Supporters,Hispanic Trump supporters, and women Trump supporters. Actually, pretty much everybody under the sun is actually represented in the Trump train, but it seems like either the Democrats or the media or both like to pretend they don’t exist because it puts a hole in our agenda. And yes, I said our. I am a full out liberal. But this shit is qwhite interesting to me. So, why do I say that Trump supporters can be friends with POC? Because POC’s are Trump supporters! What are we going to do, block our favorite cousin’s and not show up to our aunt’s wedding? And not only that, but I think I have to lay it out there that I did alot of research for this piece. I’m talking Breakfast Club interviews, Candace Owen speeches, VICE docs on Black Trump Supporters, Politifact stats, you name it. I was on a quest to figure out the answer as to whether or not Trump supporters could be friends with POC’s, and upon researching, I realized the audacity (and maybe even the Caucasity, if we’re being honest) of me thinking that I have a right to say who can befriend who on behalf of the entire Colored Community.
Being the same color as someone does not mean you have to have the same ideology or the same doctrine. Can color oftentimes be a source of unification? Absolutely. But it doesn’t make people homogenous, and it certainly doesn’t make them monolithic. I am a person who roots heavily for the Black community. The BLACK community. Period. Not the Black Liberal and Democratic Community, not the Black Oppressed Community, but the Black community in its entirety. And yeah, it means the Trump supporters. And it means the Trump supporters in the Hispanic community as well. So, yeah, call your amigo que está un poco perdido, and just give them some love. There are actually a thousand reasons people voted for him, and only 10 of them are ignorant. Find out the rationale, respect where your friend is coming from, and then if the relationship is strong, you can share your thoughts and why you might feel upset or hurt by their decisions. The reason I’m saying this is because POC’s already have so little support in the outside world. It’s not cool to leave them even more out in the cold because of their political views, regardless if you or I feel those views are largely misguided. Because they don’t. And the further you carry the narrative that they are deluded and crazy or self-loathing, the closer we get to a not-so-civil war.
Now what about the White Trump Supporters?
I’ve honestly only met a handful of white people who even look me in the eye, let alone White Trump supporters who want to engage in full discourse. Except for one. Meet Tom*. I met Tom in 2016 during a political debate that was televised in my University’s Football Stadium. And, you guessed it, he was a White Trump supporter. By then, I think I was already leaning Bernie, and I told him this, but this man did not care. He was enamored by me. And yes, I took advantage of this rare opportunity to pick the brain of a Trump supporter and not fear for my safety, as I’ve been kind of taught to do because that’s what we see all the time on TV. So, I asked, “What’s with the support?” and he obliged me, saying “Well, see, for me, it’s all about economics. That’s really all I care about. All the other stuff is garbage, but when I see his plans for our economy, I really think he can make us great again”. I was both amused and baffled: amused that a white male could actually base his entire political vote simply on the principle of economics because he believed that was all that needed to be considered in a vote; and baffled at what mysterious but glorious economic plan Trump had revealed that I had yet (still have yet) to be aware of. But believe it or not, this guy was… nice. Like too nice. He wanted to buy me orange juice at 10pm and bring it to my dorm just because I had an OJ (no Simpson) craving. And he really liked me. So I just attributed his support to ignorance and entitlement, and never talked to him again. Sorry Tom*.
My general argument, Trump supporter or not, is that White people in GENERAL could use more colored friends. Go on, getchu a lil spice without the pumpkin baby 😉 But I say this genuinely because I just am one who thinks that color makes everything better. And so if White Trump supporters were to get in on the action of making true friends with people of color, I think that life would maybe take a turn. Maybe we would have more room for understanding and love, and less room for hatred and Vineyard Vines apparel. And, hey, maybe even us liberals oughta give Trump supporters a shot (just not the ones that end in “gun”, please) 🙂 So yeah, if they aren’t crazed gun wielding racists, go ahead. Be friends, man. And maybe we can find a space to talk about the policies at play, how they may affect POC differently than Whites, and just get to the root of their decisions. Because at the end of the day, we can’t solve Caucasity without White people. It is literally in the name. That’s like trying to solve math without a calculator. You could probably injure yourself doing that. So just stick to solving things the way they are meant to be solved, which usually involves lots of other people from totally different backgrounds, coming together to pick one person to do it all.
So, to wrap this all up in a chicken sandwich no fries, anyone can be friends. Not that everyone SHOULD be friends, fix it Jesus, please, protect your peace sis! But don’t disqualify people simply because your political party does, or your family does, or your own personal biases prevent you from seeing beyond. If they are crazy, yeah, stay away from the crazy. And you know what that means, I would never advise my readers to strike conversations with racist homophobes to try and change their positions. I’m just asking that when someone who doesn’t seem like a raging lunatic says they support Trump, maybe don’t throw your drink in their face. Just drink it, and maybe it’ll help the discussion go a little smoother, and if you drink enough of it, maybe they’ll even start to look like a young Andrew Gillum (major heart eyes).