Notes from A White Guy, 11/5/2020

Three out of five white folks voted for Donald. After he activated a fascist gang in the middle of a presidential debate. After he became The Orphan Maker president with his family separation policy. After he halted the sending out of 600 million face masks in the spring. After the 22,000 lies and the hundreds of hours of verbal cruelty directed toward journalists and those who do not resemble him. After Donald became just one long raging, bitter, paranoid meltdown show without end.

Well, as a fellow “white guy,” I suggest that if Donald is our avatar then it is time to shut it down. Ollie Ollie oxen free. The sun has set on whiteness. It is time to bring it on home and end the charade. There really was never any “whiteness.” We invented it. Around 500 years ago, when the European imperial project started to ramp up. It was always a cynical ploy. Always destined to land us in the soup, finally and at some point.

And finally, it has. And by “us,” I mean we white people. We who invented us as a way to separate us from the people we wanted to steal stuff from and force to work for free for us. But we always knew, deep down, that one day the bill would come due. One day. Well, that day has come. Three out of five of us voted for an embarrassment of a human. Voted for one who represents the nadir of humanity, exactly what we do not want our children to become: hateful, dishonest, prideful, ignorant, jealous, lazy, gluttonous and greedy. A walking embodiment of the Seven Deadly Sins.

The message is as stark as the scene in The Godfather when movie producer Jack Wolz wakes up to find a severed horse’s head beside him in bed. The jig is up. Our whiteness ploy has run its course and now we can stop being white and start being just, well, human.

Sweet relief! Sweet deliverance! Do you mean I no longer have to be that precious, impatient person who is not just human, but also white? Yes. That is exactly what I mean. We unzip the costume and take a step forward into the light. After centuries of our whiteness punishing others, now it is suffocating us, this costume of our whiteness. Now we can be free of it all. We can face our history and say, “What have we done?” and not retreat under the yellow flag of a coiled snake or a horizontal X of red, white and blue. Instead, we can curse our whiteness for what it has done to others and to our own humanity. Our own humanness.

Donald Trump is the proof. In his bare, hideous terror, Donald is a gift to us white people. He is our last chance to stop being fabricated and white and start being what we actually are — just people. As white people, we are “white people.” We are white people who voted for a flamboyantly evil clown. If we forget whiteness, if we burn the white robes of our whiteness in a trashcan in the backyard in the crisp, fall air, the acrid smoke billowing skyward, we can walk forward to become fully human again.

Thank you to Brazilian poet & performer Ricardo Aleixo for provoking various of these ideas with his prose poem, “Meu Negro” (“My Man”).

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Writer, translator, actor, musician.

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Dan Hanrahan

Dan Hanrahan

Writer, translator, actor, musician.

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