The Outlook On Race After Trump Victory: Fear, Resignation And Deja Vu
Yana Paskova for NPR
On Tuesday, more than 128 million people voted for our next president. Nearly half were elated with the results: a Donald Trump victory.
Though he failed to win the popular vote, Trump won 29 states (as of this writing; still waiting on Arizona and New Hampshire) and prevailed in key battleground states, including Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Exit polls show that a majority of white people — spanning all age ranges — voted for Trump. Non-college-educated white people especially loved him. And though it's true that his support was overwhelmingly white — the majority of people of color voted for Clinton, according to CNN's survey — there's a striking caveat: Twenty-nine percent of Asians and Latinos and 8 percent of black people voted for Trump.
But 69 million people chose someone else. Many were turned off by the business mogul, who once described Mexican immigrants as rapists, called for the deportation of Syrian refugees, advocated banning all Muslim immigrants, touted the benefits of the unconstitutional stop-and-frisk program and had once been sued by the Justice Department and accused of housing discrimination.
It made for a contentious and fraught campaign. Early on Election Day, we asked our readers and listeners to tell us what they thought about the future of race relations in the U.S.
"I'm scared for myself, my children, and my family," wrote Fallon Banks, a black woman whose father is an immigrant from Cape Verde. "I'm scared that folks are going to pretend that this election is about social stratification, when it is clearly about protecting white supremacy."
Many of the responses we got — nearly all of them, in fact — looked like that. They centered on the fear, dread and resignation that some Americans are feeling. The vote totals present two very different outlooks inspired by the president-elect. Here are some perspectives, most from the America that had hoped for something else.
- "I see that the fear of 'the other' has come out of the closet. Never before have I felt so othered and marginalized, a less-than citizen in the eyes of so many in our country."
— Christina Daniels, a 33-year-old biracial woman from Laurel, Md.
- "I am terrified now to even face the real world because Trump talks a big talk and his supporters just soak every last bit of it up. I'm more scared of his supporters than I am of him, and there's only one of him and thousands of them."
— Veronica Delanuez, an 18-year-old Cuban-American from Canton, Ga.
- "I am full of fear for the African American and Hispanic communities. I see a Trump win as moving backward into racist bigotry and our country already has so much work to do."
— Kreh Mellick, a white woman from Penland, N.C.
We'll Be A Divided Nation
- "I see dark days ahead, but I have to accept that my country is comprised of people who may not want us as equals."
— Gabriel Acuna, a 24-year-old Filipino-American from Long Beach, Calif.
- "I live in a place where it is still common for people to make disparaging and racist remarks about Native people in public places, with no recourse. This election has made that kind of rhetoric acceptable and maybe even encouraged. It ripped the Band-Aid off of the only recently scabbed-over 'us vs. them' mentality."
— Jake Robinson, a 25-year-old Native American from Bemidji, Minn.
- "I fear a civil war, deeper divide in race relations and discrimination extending to all non-white, Christian Americans. I now wonder who will be the next class or group targeted. I am very sad for our country for this setback."
— Rhonda Clark, a 57-year-old white woman from Ventura, Iowa
We've Been Here Before
- "I see race relations the same as they have always been. No better, no worse. I think it's delusional to have ever thought otherwise."
— Ivan Torers, a 25-year-old Mexican-American from Lake Elsinore, Calif.
- "The scary theme in this election cycle was the underlying racial tension that has always been present. ... Unfortunately as many people who see a brown or black person as a threat, I feel that now we'll see every white person as that person who'll do us harm, look the other way, or even worse, support the actions taken against us."
— Edmundo Rives, a Colombian-American Muslim convert who immigrated to New York City at age 4, from Leesburg, Va.
- "I see the continued ripples of America's original sins of genocide and slavery."
— Shaneequa Brooks, a 30-year-old African-American woman from Silver Spring, Md.
- "The white men who've held the power and money for 400+ years still have it and are breathing a sigh of relief. I fear it may take another civil war for power to ever significantly change hands and actually reflect the demographics of the United States."
— Arline Erven, a 33-year-old white woman from Stockbridge, Ga.
'Enough Is Enough!'
- "Hopefully an end to EVERYTHING being RACE!!! My God, enough is enough! The race card has been played over and over and over. We are sick and tired of affirmative action, of people in the workplace not doing their share and then playing the race card when reprimanded. ... Tired of the media trying to make me feel guilty for being white. I voted for Obama the first round NOT because he was Black, but because I thought he was the right choice (I voted libertarian the second time around). IF this nation is going to heal, blacks need to get over themselves, stop trying to make us the villains and label themselves as AMERICANS. (period)"
— Timothy C. Wright, a 49-year-old white man from Springfield, Ill.
- "I see black Americans being the ones pulling out the race card because power in our nation has changed."
— Cathi Cranston, a 55-year-old white woman from Little Rock, Ark.