OK White Liberals

Anne Phyfe Palmer Yoga practitioner and teacher, yoga studio founder, memoirist
You’ve had your cry. You’ve signed the electoral college petition, you’ve published a rant on Facebook. You’ve allowed the full potential impact of a Trump presidency to wash over you and you’re not only disappointed, you’re scared. And you should be.

This is scary. It’s real. But let’s back up a little, because the feelings that many of you woke up with on Wednesday are not new for millions of people in our country.
People of color (as well as LGBTIQ people, immigrants, disabled people and fat people, to name a few) have long experienced the powerlessness and soul-crushing fear that infected millions more in the hours following Trump’s presidential win. This is the life many have lived for years, decades, centuries.
Now, because of Tuesday’s election, we “liberal white folks” have received the push we apparently needed in order to step out of our comfort zone. We are waking up to what was already out there and inside of us. This has suddenly gotten real for us, and we have a lot of catching up to do.
I know we white people like our lists, so here’s a start:

  1. Work on your internalized racism and sexism.
    (Here’s a link to some anti-racist resources.) Seek out communities that are doing this work and join in.
  2. Balance self-care with outward actions of care for others.
    This is going to be a long haul. We need to be strong, and brave, and powerful. But we also need to act, once we have allowed ourselves to feel. Do your yoga, get your massages, but be careful not to hide behind the comforts of your white lifestyle.
  3. Know that inaction is tantamount to complicity.
    Find a way to get involved, and don’t get distracted by things that aren’t relatively important––your weight, the number of likes your last post received, how clean your car is. There is no time to waste.
  4. Be kind.
    Furthering the divide in this country with venom and blame may make you feel better, but it won’t help anything. Binary thinking is how we got here, it won’t solve this rift.
  5. Build your capacity for shock and discomfort.
    Be wary of the desire to numb out or feel better. This is going to be uncomfortable for a long time. Get used to it. In fact if you start to feel comfortable, or soothed, or relieved, consider that you may have slid into complacency. Even if Trump had not won, this would be work worth doing, but feel free to let that be your motivation.

And now, take a deep breath, and dig in.
OK, White Liberals