In response to the staggering election results in which many members of marginalized communities experienced how disconnected they were from their fellow citizens and the country elected bigotry and hatred; Black Nerd Problems put out the call to hear how people were coping. Here is a collection of short essays on what we’re doing, just to get by.

The Threat:

Ethan Rivera / Twitter: @ethantrivera

A Latino and Middle Eastern man in a world of Trumples.

The election results were obviously not ideal. But by far, the worst part for me was watching the election with my white friends. They watched it making the Gary-Payton-can’t-believe-that-white-boy-can-dunk face.

For me, election night was an M. Night Shyamalan flick where you see the ending coming 10 minutes in, but you already paid $10 so you might as well see how long it takes everyone else in the room to figure it out too. So I went out to get more Skittles, which in the real world is going to bed at 10 PM on election night, and when I got back, Trump was President and all I had were “I love you” texts from all of my white friends.

My father is a man with a bit of a temper, and I am definitely my father’s son. He yelled a lot when I was a kid, and when I turned 13, I realized I could yell too. My temper was short and I struggled to keep a hold of it. It took me years of real work to finally get myself in control of my anger and figure out better ways of expressing myself.

[quote_right]I made rice and beans the way my Latina grandmother did. I called my father and he let me yell and be angry and he joined me in my anger and we lived our birthright together.[/quote_right]
But after the election, for the first time in years, I let myself be angry. I did not respond to my white friends. I did not talk to them. I did not care to see them. I told my roommate, a white man, that he was going to have to deal with my frustration in our apartment and I did not apologize for it. I only ate lunch with my fellow non-white coworkers. I used over-the-ear headphones in a cohort office filled with white faces who still found time to complain about clothes or how much time they had on their hands. I played video games where I could create characters that look like me and dunk on all of the white men who tried to stop me. I ate dinner at Mexican restaurants that I know are owned by actual Latinos. I made rice and beans the way my Latina grandmother did. I called my father and he let me yell and be angry and he joined me in my anger and we lived our birthright together.

I didn’t look for distractions. Instead, I found ways that helped me express my anger and keep me away from toxic spaces. I had my anger and it was mine and no one got to tell me to calm down or chill out or that I was being too emotional. So often, as a Latino/Middle Eastern man, my emotions are flagged as illogical or biased or not worthy of someone else’s emotion or a threat to someone else’s security. But not on November 9th. Not November 10th. Not now. Because sometimes, the healthiest thing you can do is feel things, and know you are allowed to.

rivera-headshot
Photo Credit: Meg Jurbank

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