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Our Communities in the Age of Trump: Between the Space Program and Royalty Capes

By David Wall Rice | @dwallrice | with thanks  to NewBlackMan (in Exile)

Thursday, November 24, 2015.

It’s time to go left and not right; Gotta get it together forever; Gotta get it together for brothers; Gotta get it together for sisters; For mothers and fathers and dead n----s; For non-conformists, one hitter quitters; For Tyson types and Che figures; Let's get it together, come on let's make it. --The Space Program--A Tribe Called Quest (2016)

A quick response to the reality of their election of Donald Trump, for those who have the conscious, lived experience of being defined as minority in this country, is a non-ironic, "it figures." Though a proverbial shotgun-blast to the chest for many, with the callous and clumsy anti-humanist presentation of it all, the current President-Elect represents a mirror-image of what The United States has assumed itself to be since forever, and so do many aspects of the defeated Democratic nominee.  

Cognitive dissonance, rationalization, denial and other effective psychological defenses have allowed us to operate adequately within a universal context of White Supremacist, anti-woman, anti-color, heteronormative othering for a long time.  Some of us are still there.  We have adjusted to a maladjusted baseline and now we're shook.

Devices of mainstream culture make us even more inclined to assume inclusion with and attachment to a healthy body politic because color, and cultures, and women, and all, are offered up as mainstream.  Confusion around Trump's nomination and his eventual election is testament to this played assumption.  But in drilling down we know that shadow selves on sound systems and celluloid do not connote visibility or equal signatories to our broad democracy.

Super-cooning and subtle surrender in politics, pop movies and in music routinely pretend with performances of rarified access, confusing it with liberation that implicitly and explicitly challenge the Cullors, Tometi and Garza initiated space of Black Lives Matter.  This is the twisted, rugged-individualistic America within which we live, and that seats of American government and Imperialism reflect, now a bit more conspicuously.

To believe the best parts of us are core to our living context allows for a version of psychological unity, community and feelings of security, however compromised.  FACTS — the best parts of us are not at core of our universal context here in the United States.  But they can be.  Thoughtful, reflexive answers to the re-boot hegemony of an elected Trump are ways to this best us.  Suggesting as much does not mean that our election results are alright, or that our current socio-cultural-political climate is a necessary evil.  It could have been avoided.  Nonetheless, the agency and ability that motivated their election of Trump can be matched with our agency and ability in making paths toward authentic emancipation.

This activism is the responsibility of the outraged and of the committed. No doubt, it will come in the form of street protest, think pieces, more politicking, peace and violence, and through innovation that we've barely embraced.  And it will hurt, badly.  Sometimes it will hurt even more than it hurts now.  But the outraged and the committed — the loving — will press to freedom because there really is no other way.  And this struggle, birthed of necessity, not for nobility, gives us the best parts of us.  It moves stale paradigms and gives a more accurate psychological unity, community and feelings of security.  It binds us who are like-minded to the process and goal of freedom.

Salute life when dawn breaks; Foreign colored faux mink lapels on these Royalty capes; I repeat, salute life when dawn breaks; Foreign colored faux mink lapels around Royalty capes; Royalty.

--Royalty Capes, De La Soul (2016)

Main image: Norman Lewis -- Torch (1960)


David Wall Rice is associate professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Morehouse College. At the College he also leads the Identity Orchestration Research Lab and serves as faculty for the Cinema, Television and Emerging Media Studies (CTEMS) program.  Wall is the author of Balance: Advancing Identity Theory by Engaging the Black Male Adolescent and is currently at work on his second book, Race, Gender, Class and Context: Being and Becoming More.

Our Communities in the Age of Trump: Between the Space Program and Royalty Capes

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