- Appeal Through Representational Politics: Lady Gaga, the recording artist selected to perform the national anthem, is the daughter of Italian immigrants, Jennifer Lopez, who was also selected to sing, is the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, just as new Vice President Kamala Harris is the daughter of two immigrants. This showcase makes a notable departure from Trump’s preference for white immigrants but performs two other notable deeds. For one, this deed highlights the focus of the incoming administration and places migrants as integral to “restoring the soul of this nation.” These intentions are, of course, far from pure. Additionally, these selections veil caged children, migrant assault, and other systemic atrocities with “representation.” Lopez and Harris may have both been at the capitol today, but those who look like them remain separated from their families, starved, and detained under the same flag they stood beneath this morning.
- Built on White Supremacy: The inaugural platform is a hyper site for the domestic terrorism embedded in national symbols. From saluting and the flags themselves, to the national anthem, the inauguration wears its anti-black core as a badge of glory. For the African-descended, these bibelots prove commensurate to the bones of our ancestors on display and regarded as festive.
- Weave and Jordans: Social media exploded in reaction to former First lady Michelle Obama’s look, mainly her hair, and Kamala Harris’s nephew-in-law’s Air Jordans. Both weaves and Jordans have become staples in black caricature, yet despite their work to bring the black collective to the heels of capitalism, many inundated social media with pride that these images made their way into the inaugural space. *** With regards, to Harris’s nephew-in-law, Nikolas Ajagu’s Jordans, this attire was implemented as indicative not only that he is a black man, but a specific kind of black man. The Biden-Harris administration wants the black collective to know that Ajagu is no Bill Cosby (Cosby who admonished Jordans and other symbols of black consumerism) but a “down” “brother.”
- Harris as Buffer: Harris, her nieces, her sister, her niece, and their black husbands, diversify what would otherwise be, and what still was, a predominately white crowd, and successfully get many to forget that this nation just elected its oldest white male president with a nearly fifty-year career rooted in anti-blackness.
- “Unity:” I watched Kamala Harris on CBS and the white female journalist commented on Harris’s “diverse” family. I interpreted this comment as a relief that there isn’t too much of anything—albeit too much color, or blackness. I reference this comment because one look at the Biden family reveals no such “diversity.” What viewers witnessed today was a white family, following the American way, socially and genetically reinforcing their values with each generation. The unity that Biden references, is the unity his genealogy delineates. The unity that Biden references elucidates a unity around whiteness as superior, savior, and omnipresent.
- A Notable Absence: It seems more than convenient that Harris’s living “black” parent has been absent and under-referenced through this all. What’s perhaps most disturbing is that it is not all that difficult to conceptualize the reason for this omission.
In tandem, these six points engender inquiry. Taking in the lesson of the last four years, my question is not what’s next. We all know what’s next. My question is: who’s next?
Obama’s presidency incited America’s “Frankenstein” that “presided” for the last four years. What will Joe Biden’s role as white savior and his diversity-hire engender? My guess: a showcase of white female supremacy to avenge both Hilary’s loss and Trump’s abridged reign.