Ms. Geek Speaks: Dear Trump Supporters–Learn to Minority

Dear Trump Supporters:

You’ve won the presidential election, but your chosen president lost the popular vote.  What does that mean? First, let’s be friends. We are all US citizens and residents, right? It’s just that you’ve supported a winning candidate who was not popular, not as popular as Hillary Rodham Clinton who won the plurality. That means you are less fortunate than I and while my tender heart might not bleed, you’re someone who needs a makeover to make you more popular. What does that mean? Let’s consult with Glinda:

GLINDA
I know. That’s what makes me so nice!
Whenever I see someone
Less fortunate than I
And let’s face it – who isn’t,

You’re gonna be popular!
I’ll teach you the proper poise when you talk to boys
Little ways to flirt and flounce, ooh!
I’ll show you what shoes to wear
How to fix your hair
Everything that really counts

To be popular!
I’ll help you be popular!
You’ll hang with the right cohorts
You’ll be good at sports
Know the slang you’ve got to know
So let’s start
‘Cause you’ve got an awfully long way to go:

Don’t be offended by my frank analysis
Think of it as personality dialysis
Now that I’ve chosen to become a pal, a
Sister and adviser
There’s nobody wiser
Not when it comes to popular –
I know about popular!
And with an assist from me
To be who you’ll be
Instead of dreary who you were—well are!
There’s nothing that can stop you
From becoming populer – lar

La la, la la
We’re gonna make
You pop-u-lar!

When I see depressing creatures
With unprepossessing features
I remind them on their own behalf
To think of
Celebrated heads of state or
Specially great communicators
Did they have brains or knowledge?
Don’t make me laugh!

They were popular! Please –
It’s all about popular!
It’s not about aptitude
It’s the way you’re viewed
So it’s very shrewd to be
Very very popular
Like me!

Why, Miss Elphaba, look at you. You’re beautiful.

ELPHABA: I have to go

GLINDA
You’re welcome
And though you protest
Your disinterest
I know clandestinely
You’re gonna grin and bear it
Your new found popularity – Ah!
La la la la
You’ll be popular
Just not quite as popular
As me!

I won’t claim that I was ever the golden girl in high school or even now like Glinda in “Wicked.” But I do know what is it like to be a minority or part of a class that is treated as second-class. First, there are two different types of minorities: visible and invisible.

If you are an invisible minority, you are making a choice when you “out” yourself. When you’re an invisible minority, people do not have to know. Examples of invisible minorities include homosexual people (unless you have super accurate gaydar), people of certain religions and people of certain political affiliations. People who are gay, don’t have to broadcast their sexual preferences. People who are Muslim or Hindu might choose not to reveal their religious affiliation, even in the clothing they wear. However, their belief may require them to dress a certain way and that makes them visible.

However, the most visible minorities or second-class citizenry do not have a choice, at least, in person. Some black Americans can pass for white, but some cannot. Some Asian Amerians can pass for white, but some cannot. Some US Latinos can pass for white or black, but others cannot. And others can be mistaken for things they are not because of how they look. Some women can pass for men and go androgynous, but most cannot and that affects how they are treated…even online.

So you if are a visible minority or a woman, you take precautions before you go out, before you drink, before you spend your money, before you go on vacation. You are always thinking: I am a minority or I am part of an oppressed class and I need to be careful.

When you interact with a majority member, you are a bit less bold than you might be with someone of your own class or minority. You are a bit more formal. You are politer than usual. If you look them in the eye, you don’t square your shoulders. You soften and round your shoulders to make yourself less threatening. You use a lot of hedge words that make you sound less confident. You present your opinions as suggestions with the possibility of it being just a joke; you laugh or giggle more.

If you’re an invisible minority, then things are different. You can pretend to be one of the majority. You could keep your head down, and no one would know. However, if you choose to wear a t-shirt, hat or bumper sticker proclaiming your minority status, then you need to recognize that you are being defiant and putting yourself in danger particularly if you enter “enemy” territory.  

By putting yourself in danger, that means you need to take some precautions. You need to be careful where you go. You probably are safest traveling in a group. You might want to soften your posture and your speaking style. By speaking style, I mean code switching. 

For those more advanced in how to minority know how to code-switch. For some of us, code-switching is when we change from one language to another depending upon what we’re talking about or whom we are talking with. For others, you switch dialects. If you need an example, consider Boot Riley’s “Sorry to Bother You” and the African American characters switching to their “white” voices.

I’m not encouraging non-African Americans to plunge into black vernacular English or adding a Latino swagger in their lingo because some people just sound like they are trying too hard. What many Trumpsters will find necessary is stripping their idiolects of the White Savior speak. That may mean learning how to speak in a politically correct manner (Or as Glinda advises–That’s the slang you’ve go to know) or being polite and considerate to those who are not White Anglo-Saxon Protestants or, like Catholics, otherwise Christian.

As a minority or second-class citizen, you won’t be surprised at being heckled, verbally assaulted and derided at any moment. You will be unhappy but not surprised that people might deny you service or pretend they don’t see you, take other customers before you although you were there first or do the passive-aggressive but hard-to-prove service slow-down. If you’re in the midst of a rowdy crowd, you might even get battered.   That’s not a liberal thing or a conservative thing, an alt-right or alt-left thing. After all, the mob mentality happens at sports events. A San Francisco Giants fan got badly beaten up at a Los Angeles Dodgers game in 2011 (Two men were sentenced to prison for that). Or think about Maggie Hadleigh-West’s 1998 documentary on women walking the streets: “War Zone.” There’s also Rob Bliss’ “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” on YouTube. Both are about women walking in hostile territory or everyday sexism. 

Think of all the problems we’ve seen with people just doing normal things while black or Asian or Latino. Going to Starbucks can be an adventure even when the barristas are well-trained, not all of the customers are.

Further, you also have to recognize if you are a high prestige or a low prestige minority and that recognition doesn’t go across the board. For example, in sciences, Asians are high prestige minorities in the US. In US movies, Asians are low prestige minorities. The reverse is true for African American in movies and science.

This is purely anecdotal, but I’ve seen people with newly acquired minority status flailing about. While white males in Japan are a high prestige minority, I’ve heard white Americans get upset about people staring at them, not wanting to sit next to them in the trains or people not wanting to rent an apartment to them. They think the Japanese are prejudiced (which they are) while black US citizens in Japan have probably already experienced that in the US. While many people identify me as a minority in Japan, it depends upon which minority they categorize me in, and that is the way I am treated but I also get treated in a racist manner by US citizens, in Japan as well as in the US.

As I discussed with my Japanese cousins, it is one thing to be treated like a foreigner in a land where you are actually a foreigner, but another thing to be treated like a foreigner in the country where you were born and raised. The best treatment I receive in the US (outside of every Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack) is in Hawaii where the majority of the population is 58% of the population is Asian and another 23% is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

For people like myself, being in Hawaii is a vacation from being a minority and a trip to East Asia is a chance to be an invisible minority.

With the kind of harassment that visible minorities face every day, Trump supporters just soun d whiny, but I understand they are used to being popular or at least thinking they are taking the white man’s burden and saving the world. Trump’s kind of rhetoric like Peter Fonda’s probably sounds better in a room full of other formerly mainstream men.  that’s the kind of MSM we should really be talking about. Mainstream men or men who think they are still mainstream.

What we need today is not mainstream male bar room bluster tweeted or used as political rhetoric at rallies.  We need a dose of humility from the crowd that lost the popular vote.

Of course, Glinda is also a reflection of mainstream maleness WASP world. Glinda in “Wicked” was white, blonde and perky and certainly not Catholic (she’s a good witch) or Muslim and formed as a variation of the June Cleaver perfect 1950s help mate. By looks, I and many minorities are more look more like Elphaba, but that might be changing.

Keep that in mind when Newt Gingrich calls the recent confrontations Trump administration cabinet members have experienced PTSD from Hillary supporters. While Gingrich is not a psychologist and downplaying real trauma, he is also wrong for other reasons. My analysis of Trumpster personality dialysis is that what Trump-supporting formerly mainstream men face is the demise of the era of the White Man’s Burden being served up in the country they conquered and carved up under the flag of Manifest Destiny. The US and the world are now headed toward a new destination that recognizes indigenous peoples’ rights and where Eurocentricism and White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Men are actually a minority view. You got to learn to grin and bear it or be considered wicked.

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