Yes, I Really Do Care If My Friends Voted For Trump

by Sa'iyda Shabazz
Scary Mommy and MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty

I keep seeing this meme going around that’s like, “I’ll still be your friend if you voted for Trump, I’ll still be your friend if you voted for Biden…” and it’s making me ragey. Because contrary to what people believe, the two are not the same. Joe Biden is by no means perfect or ideal, but he’s a hell of a lot better. Donald Trump is a racist, misogynist, xenophobic monster. If you still support him after the last four years of his bullshit, then guess what? I don’t want to be your friend. Because if you support that monster, you can’t possibly also care about me. Some people may not care who their friends vote for. I’m not one of those people.

I know that I have friends who voted for Trump in 2016. And I know I probably have friends who did this year, too. One of them is one of my oldest and dearest friends. To say that I was horrified is an understatement. From the very beginning, this man has made it clear what he stands for. If someone I know can support that, it certainly makes me question our friendship.

The friend that I knew for sure voted for him? We didn’t talk for three years. I couldn’t reconcile the person I knew with the person who’d do something so awful. To some people, that may not seem like a dealbreaker. But for me it is. As a Black woman who is queer and poor, I know this administration wants to make me a second class citizen. I cannot associate with someone who even hints at feeling the same.

I’ve always had mostly white friends. Growing up on Staten Island in NYC, it’s almost inevitable. I know that for some of those friends, I’m one of a few Black friends, and I’m always seen as the “good” Black person. I am “articulate” (a phrase I hate), have a college degree, and my parents are very present in my life and always have been. Basically, I’m the exact opposite of every Black stereotype, which makes it easy for some people to forget that I’m still Black.

Just because I have a degree doesn’t mean that the things that affect Black Americans don’t affect me. If a cop wants to stop me, they’re going to. They don’t give a fuck that I’m articulate or a successful writer or whatever. All they need to see is my skin to make a judgment call on who I am. My college degree isn’t going to stop them from shooting me dead in the street if they feel inclined.

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As far as I know, none of my friends are actively racist. But I also know that I’m not around them all the time. Just because they don’t crack a “Black” joke or mock the stereotype around me doesn’t mean they don’t when I’m not around. I can assume they’re not using our friendship to stop other white people from making racist comments. But I know they’re hearing those statements. When you’re friends with white people from Staten Island, you can guarantee they know Trump supporters; the borough has gone red in both 2016 and this year. What my friends may not realize is that silence equals compliance. You may not agree when someone makes a racist statement, but if you’re not vehemently railing against them for that statement, you are complicit.

Some people need a personal reason to vote against Trump and everything he stands for. While I’m not at all comfortable with the idea of being someone’s token Black friend, I hope they do consider me when thinking about those reasons. We should want a better and safer country for our loved ones. Whether people want to admit it or not, the president is a white supremacist. His refusal to disavow white supremacy on multiple occasions is a huge indicator of where his loyalties lie. During the presidential debates he told the Proud Boys, a well known group of white supremacists to “stand down, and stand by.” Like, this man is calling for a fucking race war. I’m Black. How can I stay friends with someone who supports that?

Supporting Donald Trump for any issue, be it abortion or taxes, means supporting him on all the issues. He is one man, and he’s in charge. So for my friends who vote for him because they want lower taxes, you’re taking your extra money with a side of racism. I’m not a practicing Muslim, but I have an Arabic name. So how do I know that I’d be safe if he ever started rounding Muslims up? I don’t. And if you support his anti-abortion stance, you’re also allowing his xenophobia.

And let us not forget that he recently packed the Supreme Court with conservative judges. Aside from wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade, they want to overturn marriage equality. I have known I was queer since I was a tween. And after finally coming out publicly in 2017, I’ve exclusively been in relationships with women. Right before the pandemic, I met the woman of my dreams and fell in love. We’re planning to get married next year, hopefully. Our fear is that we don’t get to have a legal marriage which could further complicate things for our family. I have a friend who admitted that while she voted for Biden, her husband voted for Trump. When we have our wedding, you can bet your ass he’s not invited. You can’t say you’re happy for me while voting to have my rights taken away.

None of my friends know about the anxiety I’ve had this whole election. Seeing them sharing pictures of themselves voting and not saying anything else. “Did they vote for Trump?” is a question swirling around in my brain every time I see it. Because they aren’t vocal about who they’re supporting for at all. I want to believe that they’re doing the right thing, trust me. But without an overt indication, I have no choice but to think the worst. You want to believe that people who say they love you won’t vote to take your rights away. However, people are people. And the hard truth is that white people often vote in their personal best interest.

Four years ago, I may have had grace for friends who voted for Trump. Now? Absolutely not. If you know the fear of the marginalized and still voted for that monster, you’re no friend of mine. Fool me once, shame on you. Do it again? GTFO.