What role did race play?

National Museum of African American History and Culture. (Photo by Alan Karchmer)
By and

Bobby Wilson stood outside of the National Museum of African American History and Culture the day after the country elected Donald J. Trump to be the next president.

It was a gloomy, rainy day in Washington, D.C., but Wilson was out selling photos of Barack and Michelle Obama to museum visitors, just as he has done since the facility opened in September.

Wilson said he believed the country today would have been witnessing the transition from the country’s first black president to its first female president. That’s not what happened.

Some commentators and political analysts say Trump attracted voters who were disillusioned with Washington’s entrenched political establishment. But others believe the Trump victory signals a deeper divide along racial lines. In fact Van Jones, a political commentator on CNN,┬ácalled the country’s win for Trump a “white-lash” vote.

Wilson said he supported Clinton’s ideas and policies, but did not vote because he did not think a Clinton presidency would have improved black lives.

“It doesn’t matter who sits in the White House, African Americans are, and always will be in shackles in America,” he said.

Growing up in Washington D.C., Wilson, 64, said he routinely faced racial slurs and acts against him and his friends. Decades later, nothing has changed.

“No president can change that,” Wilson said.

The majority of voters, 70 percent, in Tuesday’s election were white, with 58 percent of them voting for Trump, according to exit polls.

Daana Burnette viewed the high white voter turnout as an attack against President Obama’s movement for racial equality. She said Trump will erase any progress made.

“This is to put us back in our place,” Burnette said.

While Burnette does not support Trump, she was not motivated enough to cast a vote for Clinton.

“If Hillary truly had the support of black people, we would have come out much stronger,” Burnette said.

Despite her disappointment with the election result, Burnette believes the country will persevere. “We are a very resilient race and we’ve been through 12 years of Bush,” she said. “We can do four years of Trump.”

Teressa Jennings, is a Washington, D.C., native who lives in Maryland; she was visiting the museum with a friend from New York. She likewise chose the positive perspective.

“He’s the president-elect but I trust in God and it’s going to be OK as far as I’m concerned,” she said.

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