At 11:24 a.m. on Nov. 7, I was on the road to my dad's hometown for my great-grandmother’s 100th birthday — this is when I first heard the news that CNN had called the presidential election. My emotions washed over me in waves at the relieved realization that the current president, Donald Trump, would be leaving office in January. In addition to Trump leaving the White House, having the first Black and South Asian female vice president is certainly worthy of celebration. This is an impressive step forward for progress in America. Having Former Vice President Joe Biden elected as the next president of the United States indicates that our country is ready to take its next steps forward towards a more evolved society.
A win for Biden is, quite simply, a win for human rights. He may not have been the ideal choice for many of us who voted for him, but the racial implications of his ticket alone were enough to win my vote. As a young Black woman, four more years of Trump would mean four more years of a president who riles up white supremacists on national TV and praises their actions on social media. While I may still look over my shoulder in public, my mind has been put at ease knowing that these people can no longer look to the president for validation on their actions.
Even with the Biden-Harris administration now underway, the fact that Trump had a chance to win tells me that America has failed the test that this election presented.
Regardless of political views, many Americans believe that voting for Trump makes a person racist. A slightly less harsh opinion is that a vote for someone so homophobic, xenophobic and racist may not make the voter racist — but complicit with this kind of bigotry. For almost 73 million people to have voted for Trump is a troubling testament to the number of American citizens that are misinformed and easily swayed by a politician they idolize. It is also indicative that our country is full of people pitted against any necessary progression that may cost them their comfort.
Americans who voted for Trump without any valid arguments against Biden seem to have internalized both racism and a contempt for change. Per a Pew study, only about one in ten Trump supporters believe in the presence of systemic racism and say that Black people face greater challenges than white people. I have heard the misinformed claim that Biden will raise everyone’s taxes, that Biden is a pedophile, that Biden is ill, that the election was rigged — and so on. Proponents of these beliefs refuse to do their own research on these false claims in an attempt to justify their vote for a president who would allow them to stay comfortable in their privilege while sacrificing the marginalized communities in the country.
This is a race that should not have been even nearly as close as it was. Biden’s campaign was built on promises of increased affordable health care, environmental protections, LGBTQ+ rights and criminal justice reform. Most importantly for myself, and many other people of color in the country, it also means improved race relations in America. Under the Trump-Pence administration, if you are not straight, white or wealthy, your needs were not prioritized. The evidence speaks for itself — Trump has rolled back countless human and civil rights protections since he took office in 2017. Under the Biden-Harris administration, we will no longer have to worry about losing our rights.
Biden, himself, is not without flaw. There is no doubt that he has internalized, if not outright displayed racism. Plus, Harris, as a former prosecutor, is a cop whose work has had some negative effects on the Black community. Infiltrating the system is not the answer, we need to scrap the system and create a new one that is not based in the suffering of people of color. Idolizing politicians is something that I will never do, but progress is something that I will always revere.
This election was a test for Americans. But barely a 51 percent grade for Biden is surely failing. Many people found themselves surprised at how close we came to having Donald Trump for a second term. I hope that this election will open our eyes to the realities of this country and the implications systemic and outright racism had on its outcome. There is no argument here — Donald Trump was the white supremacists’ choice. Needless to say, I will be using the electoral results map to determine what areas of the country I need to avoid in the future.
Aliyah D. White is an Opinion Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. Columns represent the views of the authors alone.