On January 20th, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Many, myself included, took a deep sigh of relief as the former president, Donald Trump, finally left office. Though certainly a cause for celebration, an alarming narrative began to arise. It seemed as if for many, the absence of Trump meant a return to normalcy, to a life where they no longer had to bother themselves with politics. But what exactly was normal?
When I got my drivers license, I remember feeling a twinge of annoyance at the lengthy lecture my father had given me on how to interact with the police if I was ever pulled over. At the time, I was sure that I would be fine. I remember the horror I felt after jokingly asking my father if he had ever seen a gun, only to discover he had once been held at gunpoint by police officers at the very school I attend. He had accidentally parked in a no-parking zone. They assumed he had drugs in his car. I no longer found his earlier lecture to be irrelevant.
This is my normal. Growing up as a black woman with immigrant parents this has always been, and will continue to be, my normal. I cannot return to something I was never able to escape. So many of the horrific events that occurred during Trump’s presidency go far beyond politics. It’s a matter of humanity, something that cannot be solved by a change in political power. If anything, Trump’s time in office exposed to the world what black and brown communities have been facing for much, much longer. Trump’s presidency was not the start of anything, and its conclusion will not be the end of it.
So for those of you who share this sentiment of a return to normalcy, I urge you to continue your fighting. It is a privilege to view politics as an interest and not as something that has direct implications on your life. Though having a new president is worthy of celebration, it is not an approval to return to an old way of living. It doesn’t exist anymore. For many of us, it never did.