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It’s not that I don’t think white people are anxious; two months into Trump’s presidency, most of the white people in my life are activated.They’re in the streets, calling senators and congressmen, attending community board meetings, and holding sign-making parties. But while the political universes of my white friends are cracking open, I’m feeling more inclined than ever to cloister myself.
They smoked weed in their parents’ houses with abandon. If they wanted me, I thought, it was because I seemed free like them.
The other day, I was on the subway platform playing my usual game, and I caught the eye of a black guy.
It felt different this time, like the flirtatious version of the “black nod” at work — an acknowledgement between two black employees who might not even know one another, but who have a shared experience.
Since Trump was elected, I’ve felt paradoxically alienated by white people finding or doubling down on their commitment to change.
Somehow their politicization has begun to seem cartoonish, filled with performance and self-congratulation. But it wasn’t only on election night that translating experience felt so fraught.