Do you watch Blackish? We do. It’s one of those shows that we watch as a family the day after it airs because simply put, we can personally relate to many of the topics of the show but none more than this week’s episode, “Lemons.”
In 30 minutes, Blackish brilliantly covered everything that I’ve felt in the past 2 months about the election. Some of it, I’ve said on here before and more recently, I’ve gone quiet because I’ve been processing. I’ve been preparing to keep on fighting for equality. This fight is nothing new to me as a Latina woman, and if you are an African American, a member of the LGBTQ community, a person of the Muslim or Jewish community, disabled or any minority for that matter that was looking forward and hung all of our hopes of equality on a white woman, you know exactly what I’ve been feeling.
In retrospect, I guess we were all a bit naïve. We got cocky and complacent and we thought Hillary Clinton had it in the bag and she was the change/ the chance for true equality that we were all waiting for and maybe we put that on her because she was a white woman. Maybe somewhere deep down inside we felt like we needed permission/ confirmation of our equality from a Caucasian. How ironic is it that white women are the very exact ones who failed us at the polls?
We’re equal. We’re human. We don’t need anyone to make it alright. It’s a fact. Just like no other candidate can make us less than. Our President-elect may think we are less than he is but it’s simply not true. We are all the same. I don’t need him to give me something we already have the privilege of being born a human being.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about race lately because things just got a lot more in your face. The other day I watched Birth of a Nation and I cringed at the thought that any human could treat another human like that. It, quite frankly, broke my heart. I watched it with my 11-year-old daughter and we both just sobbed at the inhumanity. The thing is that wasn’t very long ago.
Then, I watched Loving. In case you are not familiar with the story, it’s about an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, living in Caroline County, Virginia in 1958. Richard Loving, a white construction worker, fell in love with a local black woman and family friend, Mildred Jeter. Mildred gets pregnant and overjoyed, Richard asks her to marry him. Knowing that interracial marriage violated Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws, they drove to Washington, D.C. to get married.
But soon, sheriff’s deputies raid Mildred’s home and arrest the couple for violating the anti-miscegenation law. When Richard points to the marriage license, the sheriff curtly tells him that it has no validity in Virginia and takes Richard and, a very pregnant, Mildred to jail. Richard makes bail but then is not allowed to bail his wife out. She is forced to spend the weekend in jail, pregnant and in her nightgown and robe because the government of Virginia refused to recognize their marriage.
They plead guilty to breaking the anti-miscegenation law and are sentenced to one year in prison. However, the judge suspends the sentence, on condition that they couldn’t return to Virginia together for at least 25 years. The Lovings moved to D.C. to stay with a friend of Mildred’s but return to Virginia so their first child, Sidney, can be delivered by Richard’s mother, a midwife. Arrested again, they are cleared when their lawyer says he erroneously advised them they could return.
From there, the ACLU got involved after Mildred sent a letter to Bobby Kennedy asking for help with her situation. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case of the Loving v. Virginia, which finally invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. That was only 50 years ago.
In 1972, my Caucasian mother from Virginia excitedly went to tell her grandfather who had raised her that she was marrying my father, a Mexican, and his answer was, “You may as well marry a n*gger.” I never really understood the weight of that comment until I watched Loving.
My great grandfather disowned my mother and she was heartbroken that he couldn’t accept the man that she loved. We never met that man because she wasn’t going to expose her children to that kind of hatred. I’ve only been taught and ever known, in my heart, that everyone is equal. My parents taught me that. But not so long ago, even in my own family, prejudice ran rampant and divided loved ones forever.
Prejudice is nothing new to most of us. Now, it’s just less covert but it hurts either way if I’m being honest. Nobody likes to swallow their tongue why someone else berates and belittles them and we shouldn’t have to. I wish we could do more than change the laws to ensure equality but actually change people’s hearts so that they saw us as equal because until that happens, we are not treating the cancer that is prejudice, only the symptoms and truly, that’s not much.
I guess what all this was about was to tell you that you are not alone in your feelings and if you don’t believe it, watch Blackish the episode “Lemons” you can catch it on Xfinity, HULU or the ABC App. I have no affiliation with these companies, other than paying for subscriptions, I just really think you need to watch it. You’ll see that you are not the only one thinking these things. You are not the only one terrified, depressed and saddened by the unpredictability of the upcoming term.
But please, stop complaining. And don’t be afraid because I know many of you are and who can blame you. But sometimes doing the right thing has to make you be braver than the fear. We’ve got work to do and the whining and crying is just pointless. It’s like worrying, there is not purpose to it. What helps is doing the work. Fighting the injustice. Making your voices heard so we don’t keep ending up here, in the worst fucking episode of Groundhog Day ever. We can do it. Yes, we can.
If you are disheartened by the election results, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to work to change the situation?