Just a warning that I'm going to use language that is offensive.
I'm a white male that grew up in a small town in Florida to upper-middle class parents. I say that because I didn't see a ton of racism growing up. I did see some but it just didn't cross my path in life often. My early elementary schooling was at a private Christian school which had (as far as I can tell) no minorities. When I switched to a public elementary school and later in public middle and high schools I was gradually introduced to more minorities. Although in middle school and high school I was in many advanced classes which tended to skew back to being mostly white middle classed students. Outside of school whether it was the Boy Scouts or Little League baseball there were still very few minorities. So to reiterate, racism rarely crossed my path.
I gave you all of that history as I believed that we the citizens of this great country had made progress to end racism. Then 9/11 happened and many citizens started to show signs of racism and xenophobia against Middle-Eastern people and frankly anyone that may look Middle-Eastern. Then America elects its first black President in 2008. We started to see racists creations spread across the Internet against that President. And then slowly the tides of hate seemed to recede followed quickly by the numerous "officer involved shootings" of unarmed black men, then the Black Lives Matter movement, and the reaction to BLM. Again through all of this I rarely saw racism in my own life and when I did I would call it out.
This brings me to the main impetus of this posting. This summer I was at a music venue/bar with a group of people that I love and respect with all of my heart (I'm leaving this vague on purpose). I engaged in conversation with a man that I have known almost all of my life and have tremendous respect for. A man in his fifties with a good family and is grounded. A real salt of the earth type of guy. I always looked up to this man and I'm tearing up right now as I write this. We got to chatting about an aspect of energy policy which I figured was really benign and interesting and he dropped a bomb on me. He called our current president, President Obama, a fucking nigger. I was floored. And he kept saying "that Fucking Nigger" in front of whatever grievance he had with the policy. I've actually forgotten what his position was because my view of this great man had been shattered. The conversation was interrupted which was a blessing and the rest of the night I had to act like I was fine.
Now here is what bothers me even more than losing faith that someone I thought was truly good turned out to have racists tendencies (which hurt a lot). One quarter of the possible voters in the 2016 Presidential Election and just under half of those that did vote sided with Donald Trump. A man that instigated the birther movement. A man sued by the federal government due to racial discrimination. A man who when endorsed by white nationalists didn't reject the endorsement immediately. A man that had a black Trump supporter ejected from a rally. I'm not even remotely implying that those that voted for Trump were racists. Some definitely are. What I am implying is that by supporting a man that has had a racially dubious history you gave those with hate in their hearts an opening to express that hate. Since the election has ended there have been numerous instances of hate popping up around the country. These are people like the one I mentioned above that have kept it hidden but now feel they can express that hate.
This is why I have been distraught since the election results. I saw first hand the hidden nature of the racist mind and what that means for our country going forward. I'm not distraught that the candidate that I chose lost. I'm distraught that one quarter of the nation said "I'm with him" and what that means. I truly hope that I am just chicken little and the sky isn't falling. I truly hope that President Trump does attempt to unite this country even when all of his campaign promises relate to dividing it. I want President Trump to do the best he can for everyone in the country and that he succeeds. If he truly wants to "Make America Great Again" then he'll need to make sure he understands what that means in the society that we live in now.