Dear Nadia Owusu


My favorite blog this week was written by a woman named Nadia Owusu and published in Huffington Post.

A Conversation About Race in Trump’s America

I'd like to continue her conversation.

Dear Nadia,

We don’t know each other, but I loved your blog. Your words danced on the page with a feverish power and beauty, traveling right into my heart. Your stories, filled with bravery.

First let me say, "Thank you for sharing your heart."

Because you entitled it, "A Conversation About Race in Trump's America," I was hoping we could actually have one. 

I agree we have a long way to go, and a phrase I once read keeps coming up for me as I watch the arrogance of elected and appointed white men traipse across my social media feeds and network television.

White people in America have an unconscious sense of superiority.

I understand to stereotype "white" people is very simplistic as we have a melting pot of mixed peoples now living in America. Even my own white skin doesn't capture my Mi'kmaq or African roots (genetic testing will do wonders to bring us all together some day!). I think we can all understand what I mean by "white" for the purpose of this conversation.

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving and, as glorious as it is to have an entire day devoted to gratitude, I can't help but imagine -- as I munch on turkey -- the terror in our native peoples. Our history began with genocide and we continue on the path of disregard.

However, what I'm talking about here is even more insidious than overt discrimination because it is unconscious (or subconscious, I don't know). 

White people have an unconscious sense of superiority.

This is not a statement to condemn white people or to make white people defensive about our individual or evolved awareness of racism. Nor is it a bleeding heart liberal gush of guilt.

It's just a simple fact.

This unconscious sense of superiority has polluted every social structure in our country and is very tricky to deal with.

Because of this right-under-the-surface everyday reality, a Trump win has been terrifying for those on the front lines of white superiority. Trump has embodied in mind and intention a caricature of this phenomenon. Of course, he’s white. But, on top of that, he openly condemns “minority” populations, which polarizes our community into the “us and them” mentality, reinforcing racism at its core. This polarization then emboldens those who want to assert their “superiority”. Worse yet, Trump associates himself with people whose white superiority is not unconscious. It's a mission statement. And these people are gaining traction in the ranks of national power structures.

How the hell did this happen?

To me, it feels like the end of the world. And it is. It's the end of my made-up world where I believed we’d actually made progress from our racist roots. That made-up world is crashing down around me as I witness this overt, in-your-face polarization of peoples and ideas. Van Jones called it Whitelash on the night of the election. At first, I wrestled with it. No! We’ve come so far! We can’t go back to a time where people actually do the “us and them” thing! Not white black. Not us them. No!

But then I realized...we never left that time. The idea that we did was all in my head. We are there more than ever, and always have been, in spite of what feels like great progress. Even a Barack Obama presidency didn't resolve it.

I've been depressed ever since I realized that.

But your blog re-energized me. I realized I'm not alone and that maybe this whole fiasco can be turned into something positive. Maybe this is the lancing of the boil that is racism in America. Maybe this is what it takes to finally heal. When we see the ugly ripping through our communities, we will be forced, once and for all, to finally see and not just run away to our separate neighborhoods. Maybe when the ugly blows up in our faces in such a devastating way, we can heal.

As the eminent writer, Nadia Owusu, once wrote:

“My words might be all wrong. You might not understand them. I might not understand you. So, I ask, willing to dare everything, furious and deeply sad, but still holding on to hope: Where do we go from here?”

We go to the puss and ugly.

Then we try to heal.


Let's keep this conversation going...


“Let neither think that anything short of genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent, and prayerful effort, can succeed in blotting out the stain which this patent evil has left on the fair name of their common country.”

(Baha'i Writings, The Advent of Divine Justice, p 40)

Bad Daddy Trump

I have Daddy issues, still at 51. I'm not proud of it, but I admit it. Nothing like a weird election between a man and a woman volleying for power to bring it all out.

Not to reduce public policy and the future of our nation (and world) to an emotional fit, but I’m watching a lot of emotional fits take place so I thought I’d delve inside to get to the bottom of my own. A layer of emotion is swirling in an undercurrent far deeper than right and left politics. 

“He won.” I yelped to Tim. “I can’t believe he won.” I sobbed.

I confess. I cried. The crying didn’t last long, but it was followed by an urge to vomit that lasted about three days and still visits me when I see what I’m calling the “pukatives” in the media. You know, the images and words that spew hate.

Anyway, every time I said, “He won,” I got emotional and felt sick.

I had to go deeper.

My dad was an amazing man, replete with a social justice barometer unsurpassed in this world. As a little girl, I watched him give to his community and I watched his community shower him back with awards and accolades. He worked tirelessly for the underdog. He was generous to a fault (so generous in his business that he hardly had money to feed his family). He was so generous with his time that he had nothing left for us except a snoring body on the couch. That sounds terrible. God rest his beautiful soul. But my dad was what a lot of dads were back in my day – an absentee dad.

It served me in some way. Rather than wait for him to handle the wheel of the car and direct my Life, I learned to drive my own proverbial car at a very young age. I worked as soon as I could to make my own money to create my own freedom. I was raised with brothers who had opportunities I never had. I watched one play baseball and get all kinds of attention so my best friend, Lizzie, and I decided we wanted to play baseball, too. When we tried out for Southington Little League, I remember the coaches all laughed at us. One coach, I remember, put the catcher’s helmet on me laughing, “Here, wear this one!” It was 4X larger than my head and kept slipping, blocking my view so every ball pitched at me hit me in the helmet, square between my eyes. Everyone just laughed more.

He won.

Strong triggering words.

Since 11/9, my heart has hurt.

It’s an ache, actually.

If I’m quiet and honest, it hurts because I don’t trust Trump to lead our beautiful country just like I couldn’t trust my dad to lead my life. And I worry for my girls living in a country led by a “pussy-grabbing” president. He’s not qualified to give my girls what I want from a leader. 

Just like my own dad wasn’t qualified to give me what I needed.

I mean, what could be worse? A powerful woman had lost to a man who disposes his wives like Bic shavers, and seems incapable of seeing women beyond their physicality.

On top of that, Hillary had symbolized a win for the women marginalized and belittled in this world. I knew the ache inside of me was my problem and no one else’s. “It’s like women have never been given their true power or true value,” I said to Tim.

He turned to me, face contorted with confusion. “Why does someone have to give you power? Don’t you just have it?”

I was quiet, not even aware I had said “given”.

Looking outside of ourselves for resolution to the human condition, which is at its core a seeking of pleasure to avoid pain (a pain defined differently by each one of us), is the definition of losing our own power. 

Our true power is internal, and has nothing to do with any other human being, really.

(Yes, we have to run civilizations and that's for a different blog. This one is just about why we're emotionally triggered.)

Anyway, this dad stuff is so deep that last night I even had a dream about George Bush Sr. Say what?? I’ve never been one to sit on the right side of the political room, but I remember in real life bumping into him (literally walked right into him at the World Summit for Children in 1990 trying to find my co-worker at the United Nations) and thinking how statuesque he was. He smiled at me. His secret service men glared at me, but let me walk on.

My dream was nothing special. We were eating at the same restaurant and I had him call Tim on the phone as a joke. I woke up realizing that my psyche is really wrangling with this idea of Trump as titular head. Now I’m dreaming about George Bush? I’m pretty sure I didn’t even vote for him. But my unconscious appreciated his diplomacy as president, his initiative of “Collective Security”, his seemingly powerful love for Barbara. Stately. Regal. Calm. A therapist would say… A Good Daddy. LOL.

So now I sit with my emotional issues in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election. Who knew a Trump Triumph would send me reeling? What do these players actually represent to each of us? 

Is this really about election results or is it about some deeper reckoning about their archetypal place in our minds. Trump, to me, is the archetype of a perpetrator or abuser or maniacal self-absorbed man.

My pain is not your pain. My fear is not your fear. Each of us has to have the human decency to witness the realities and pain of others – not only our own. We all underestimated the emotional pull that this president-elect triggered on BOTH sides, taking us to places way beyond partisan politics. 

For those happy with Trump? I get it. Trump is not your Bad Daddy. He might even be your Sugar Daddy. LOL. He represents different things to different people, and everyone seems to be giving him too much power.

What if we all took our hurt and anger – or our need to gloat – a little deeper inside?  

It’s not about who won. It’s about who and what we perceive to have won.

For the people terrified that Trump will set us back 100 years, it’s just a fear right now. In reality, even though the vitriol of some Trump supporters in this undercurrent has been galvanized and is ripping through our communities like a rabid dragon, no rights have been lost. On the contrary, we're collectively growing more vigilant against injustices targeted at specific groups.

For the people who have placed all of their hopes in Trump to give us peace and financial security? In reality, nothing has happened. 

For the people who rejoice with division and hate? Your wounds must run deep, and the majority of people in this country will not let your brokenness hurt others. I promise you that. 

Trump is no one's devil, savior, good or bad daddy. He's just a guy who won an election.

Let’s keep our crazy in check. Gnash teeth, fight, hiss, carry on, protest, gloat, call people names, have your stupid parades. Figure it out. I will, no doubt, continue to rant.

Then let’s move beyond the emotionalism and rise to our higher selves.

We got this, America.