What Comes Next: Confronting a Post-Election America

Like you, perhaps, I am in mourning for something that could have been. As a queer, non-binary person, I have received numerous inquiries about my well-being from friends and colleagues; I am simultaneously reckoning with the privilege my whiteness affords me. I am functioning—I go to work, I eat meals, I take most of my medications, I even go to bed on time—but I feel dead inside. Family members, former classmates and millions of people I’ve never met have written off my existence, as well as the rights of women, disabled people and people of color, and the safety of Muslims, Jews and immigrants. This week’s reading list is dedicated to those marginalized voices. Some of these stories were written in the wake of this year’s election; others came before. I hope you read these and feel if not heartened, then more determined than ever to protest evil, protect marginalized communities/yourselves and share your lived experiences.

1. Nicole Chung’s “Here’s What I Told My Daughter the Day After the Election” (BuzzFeed Reader, Nov. 2016) and “Parenting the Election” (Hazlitt, Nov. 2016).

In addition to Chung’s essay, BuzzFeed Reader also published “A Letter to My Brown Son About Trump’s America” by Mira Jacob and “I Will Teach My Children to Survive the New America” by Manuel Gonzales.

2. On Twitter, Saeed Jones—poet and BuzzFeed News’ Executive Editor of Culture—shared essays by Brit Bennett, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kiese Laymon, Cord Jefferson, and Nikole Hannah-Jones, essays where “black people write about white people.”

3. Brit and Buzzfeed Senior Culture Writer Bim Adewunmi lived in the United States during this election cycle, covering the presidential debates and traveling to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. In the wake of the election results, she has written “What is America So Afraid Of?” Radical leftist, London denizen and New Statesmen contributing editor Laurie Penny has written “On the Election of Donald J. Trump,” a scathing indictment of the hurt feelings of Trump supporters and a rallying cry for everyone else:

A number of people have taken the time to let me know, on this of all days, that despite voting for the preferred candidate of every neo-fascist with a network connection, despite voting for a man who has whipped up a wave of racial hatred and surfed it all the way to the White House, they do not feel that they are racist, and would prefer that nobody said so. They didn’t put it delicately, and nor will I: I am done caring what the people prefer.

(Similarly, I recommend Penny’s essay about Brexit.)

4. Creative activism will endure. Jeff Chang, author of We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation, recommends the books that changed his life and inspired him to write, “populated by writers who made me believe my passions and my in-betweens weren’t a private hell but a place to start my own arc, a journey towards finding my own voice.” Also: The 20 most influential young curators in the United States. Fifteen indigenous women on the frontline of the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Illustrator and author Molly Crabapple collaborates with her muses in a startling new exhibit. Sam Escobar, newly appointed Senior Commerce Editor of Bustle, discusses their intersectional identity and body positivity. Solange Knowles gets candid about her powerful new album in an interview with The Fader. Writer Nicole Pasulka shared this incredible story of the Phoenix of Hiroshima, a sailboat whose crew protested nuclear warfare and the Vietnam War.

5. Take care: 11 Black Queer and Trans Women Discuss Self-Care. A Self-Care Guide to Counter Trump Fatigue (published before the election, but still). What Nobody Tells You About Self-Care (spoiler: includes a lot of adulting.) How Women of Color are Practicing Self-Care in a Trump World.

6. This morning, I lay in bed and listened to Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris speak with critic and professor Margo Jefferson in the newest episode of Still Processing. You can read an interview with Jefferson at Bomb Magazine and read an excerpt of her memoir, Negroland, at Guernica.

7. Rebecca Solnit and Haymarket Books are distributing free e-copies of Solnit’s book, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities. You can read an excerpt at The Guardian or download the book here.