I’ll admit it. I’m not always good at feeling my feelings. Today, I’m letting my feelings live where they live, under the surface, because letting them emerge into the light is too scary. And I’m sure my fear, sadness, and anger–the fear of a white, cis, middle-class, straight-passing queer Canadian woman–is nothing compared to the feelings of my friends to the south who share neither my privilege nor my remove.
The one thing I’m not feeling is surprised that Donald Trump is now the president-elect. If there’s one thing that being a student of human nature via my training as a humanist has taught me, it is that humanity has almost infinite capacity for bias, selfishness, short-sightedness, and lack of empathy. We Canadians should not feel smug about the results of this election and what we believe it says about the misogyny, racism, and classism of the United States. We too had the KKK and have an ongoing legacy of white supremacy and right-wing extremism. We too have hate crime and police violence. We have Kellie Leitch.
Since I’m not ready to face my fear of what the next four years may hold, I’m looking for concrete, actionable things I can do to deal with the Trump victory, and to do what I can to prevent the same climate of fear and entitlement from spreading across Canada and manifesting as the election of people like Kellie Leitch. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
Get out of your bubble
People have been expressing surprise that Trump won and tying that surprise to their lack of exposure to people with other viewpoints. This largely isn’t our fault: blame it on the algorithms. But we can: Read Kerry Clare’s great blog post about learning to understand American voters from following Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram feed. Read Anne Helen Petersen’s interviews of female Trump supporters. Read The Toronto (Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa) Sun. Reverse our unfollows of that high school friend who loved Stephen Harper. Sit next to our conservative great aunt at Christmas dinner.
Share the Trump 2.0 syllabus with your students. Teach books that help them understand the lives and experiences of people unlike them. Give students who think differently than you an opportunity to share with your class about why they believe what they do. Take your classroom out into the world. Get them listening to Active History.
Support people who are afraid and at risk
Reach out to your queer, women, indigenous, Black, Latinx, Muslim, Jewish, brown, trans, immigrant, poor, refugee friends. Shop at minority-owned business. Sponsor a Syrian refugee family. Donate to Black Lives Matter. Advocate to your local representatives for better access to abortion, safe injection sites, birth control, shelter space.
Understand and challenge your own biases
Listen to Colour Code. Read about white fragility. Do some implicit association tests. Learn about the history of race and immigration in your neighbourhood (this one is mine). Read the TRC report. Learn about Black Lives Matter. Check out the Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada digital archives.
Support small media
The same media bias that let people believe that Clinton’s emails = Trump’s myriad personal and professional violations exists here, but we can counter it by supporting ethical small media like GUTS Magazine, CANADALAND, Rabble, and others. They all have Patreon accounts or other ways to donate, and a few dollars (as well as your eyeballs on a regular basis) helps.