For decades, going back to W.E.B. Dubois writing in The Atlantic , African-Americans have told of the double consciousness they carry within: who they are and who they really are. In society, they are first and foremost Black, and all that entails living in America. They are also who they are. This consciousness was forced on Blacks in order to survive, an unshakable awareness of their identity, unique among Americans, and their very selves, their souls.
Now all of us must carry a double consciousness within us: who we are in this world and what we feel we are inside. The rest of the world does not care what we feel inside because the rest of the world knows us now. They know what we are capable of.
An easy out would be to simply say, “I didn’t vote for Trump.” That is like the professor who said he used to except himself from the role of a White man in America because he was Canadian by origin. Then he realized that he may be a Canadian to himself but he is otherwise to others. My wife tells of how she got excited when first talking to me about the origins of her culture in Africa. She went home and said to her mother, “M’dear, did you know we are from Africa?” Her mother replied, “You may be African but I’m not.” My wife’s consciousness as a Black person was growing but her mother wanted no part of it; she had enough to deal with.
No, we cannot deny our Trump. HB 33: no politician may say, “This is not who we are.” This very obviously is exactly who we are.
An epiphany struck me: this is what the third world has been trying to tell us. We are our drone strikes on a wedding party and “oops!” won’t obviate that. We do give money to corrupt politicians – not “to corrupt politicians” but “in order to corrupt politicians” – so we Americans benefit. The crushing of economic sectors in other countries in the way humans crush ants – unknowing, unfeeling – just doing it because it’s on our way to greatness as we crushed the indigenous people of North America, crushed the independence of people in Central America to further our own ends and now pushing them away from our borders so as not to deal with the human detritus we have created. OK, I am beginning to not see this – I saw it before – but to let it seep into my consciousness. I am an American. I welcome people from all over the world (now) and offer endless opportunities and pitfalls (more money, fewer intact families). I love that about us. I hate the other stuff. But it IS all us. We are that.