Roxane Gay on The Two Americas
The United States is not at all united.
There is no greater identity politics than that of white people trying to build a firewall around what remains of their empire as this country’s demographics continue to shift.
The United States is not at all united. We live in two countries. In one, people are willing to grapple with racism and bigotry. We acknowledge that women have a right to bodily autonomy, that every American has a right to vote and the right to health care and the right to a fair living wage. We understand that this is a country of abundance and that the only reason economic disparity exists is because of a continued government refusal to tax the wealthy proportionally.
The other United States is committed to defending white supremacy and patriarchy at all costs. Its citizens are the people who believe in QAnon conspiracy theories and take Mr. Trump’s misinformation as gospel. They see America as a country of scarcity, where there will never be enough of anything to go around, so it is every man and woman for themselves.
They are not concerned with the collective, because they believe any success they achieve by virtue of their white privilege is achieved by virtue of merit. They see equity as oppression. They are so terrified, in fact, that as the final votes were counted in Detroit, a group of them swarmed the venue shouting, “Stop the count.” In Arizona, others swarmed a venue shouting, “Count the votes.” The citizens of this version of America only believe in democracy that serves their interests.
Roxane Gay, I Am Shattered but Ready to Fight