Let’s be honest: We all hated 2016. This year was an emotional roller coaster, a swirling tea-cup ride in which your tea-cup is a dumpster full of wet garbage (which is also somehow on fire). Here’s a list of 10 things we absolutely hated that deserve to be left behind as we exit this clown-filled nightmare/shit-show of a year.
1. Casual, normalized white supremacy
Remember that movie “Joe’s Apartment?” No? Well let me refresh your memory. A guy named Joe rents a terrifyingly roach-infested apartment in New York City, and whenever he turns on the lights, a horde of cockroaches comes out, singing and dancing, swinging from the light fixtures, and stealing Joe’s food.
Well, this year, America turned on the lights and realized just how many racists we had hiding in the cupboards.
While the problem we have with racism and white supremacy embedded in our power structures in America became more apparent this year, it has really always been there. With Trump’s hateful rhetoric emboldening casual racists and spurring some to stop tokenizing the one black person they know as their “friend,” it seemed there were more racists than before. We also had more media figures and reality TV shows that seemed bent on normalizing the sob-story of disenfranchised or ignored white voters turning to blatant racism and a Cheetoh-dusted billionaire to fix all their problems. (Which were, of course, caused by people of color, Muslims, and LGBTQIA+ people.)
Yes, I know we’ll be seeing more of this tangerine jackass in 2017, but we all wish he was staying behind in the year we would love to pretend never happened. He might not be leaving, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work to rid our nation of Trump and people like him in 2017. He may have had some fun this year, but 2017 belongs to US.
3. Dismissal of apartheid
Obama pledged a further $38 million dollars in aid to the apartheid regime that is Israel, and the mayor of New York City tried to shut down the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. Trump is making some big promises to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and the coming years are looking to be tough for Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza as Trump’s cabinet fills with pro-Israel (yet anti-semitic) demagogues like Steven Bannon.
(Obama giving our tax dollars to Israel).
However, with BDS winning against Andrew Cuomo, and with the recent UN vote on illegal West Bank settlements, the Israeli apartheid is feeling the hurt.
Look out, apartheid apologists. We’re coming for 2017.
4. Blue lives/All lives matter
This disgusting dismissal of the Black Lives Matter movement needs to die with 2016. Both of these sayings, which basically co-opted the motto of the movement to protect black lives and recognize police-state violence, completely ignore or gaslight black strife in America.
This is the face you make should in the face of these idiotic comments:
So, dear anyone-entering-2017 with the rest of us, it’s BLACK LIVES MATTER. Say it right or say nothing at all.
5. Anti black racism in Muslim/Arab/Desi communities
As a Palestinian person, I have always known about the racism within the Arab community. I hear the startling conversations about people who don’t want their daughters marrying a black Muslim, about men who won’t hire black employees, about people who squirm during Jummah when a black brother or sister stands next to them in Salat. (Shame on you all, BTW). But perhaps the most shocking display of anti-black racism in the Muslim community came this year when renowned and admired Sheikh Hamza Yusuf pathologized and dismissed black suffering at RIS conference. The fallout has proven painful, but somewhat productive. Anti-black racism in the Muslim Ummah and in Arab and Desi communities has been exposed in a dramatic fashion, and now it’s time to chuck it where it belongs: into the burning dumpster we leave behind in 2016.
6. F***boys and Wallah Bros
We have all had way too many of these. From the Wallah Bros in our own families and communities to random cat-calling street harassers, it seemed 2016 was the year of the F***boy. Especially with the circus of rape apologists and anti-feminist trolls that followed Trump like his own personal troupe of flying monkeys, it seemed that idiots objectifying or demeaning women was some sort of theme for this past year. Take some advice from Muslim Girl and cut these monsters out of your life in 2017.
7. War and genocide
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know the world in general has been in trouble in 2016. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen all suffered through war, famine, and even natural disasters with millions of refugees fleeing the region. The Philippines suffered under Rodgrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs, which has already claimed thousands of lives and has many citizens panicking. Rohingya Muslims in Burma begged for foreign intervention as Myanmar forces further isolated the Rohingya people, causing a serious lack of food and medicine. In Venezuela food insecurity caused mass protests against the government, while in Chile protests erupted after students demanded education reform and were met with militarized opposition. In Colombia, the world’s longest running civil war ended, but government officials and representatives of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) are still in disagreement and keep heading back to negotiations, keeping the country in suspense as hopes of lasting peace hang in the balance.
And here in America, the UN and Amnesty international began investigations into police violence, as the number of unarmed individuals killed by police hovers near one thousand as we close out the year, with a disproportionate number of those killed being black people and people of color.
Yeah, dear 2016: We all hate you.
8. The death of…well, everyone
2016 also put us through the wringer with celebrity deaths. David Bowie and Alan Rickman both died this year at the age of 69 after battling cancer. Musicians Prince and George Michael both passed this year at only 57 and 53 years old. We also lost The Voice star Christina Grimmie to a shooter, and actor Anton Yelchin to a freak accident in which he was crushed by his own car. So many childhood heroes left us this year, including Muhammad Ali, who died at age 74 after suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Carrie Fisher, who died this past week at the age of 60, and Gene Wilder, who passed at the age of 83 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. So let’s see, we lost Bowie, Prince, The Greatest, Princess Leia, Willy Wonka, Professor Snape, and many, many others.
Screw you so hard for ruining my childhood, 2016.
9. The white/cisgender heteronormative patriarchy
The Stanford rape case, the continued imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, lawmakers in Texas forcing women to give funerals for aborted or miscarried fetuses, women being denied access to birth control, the idiotic North Carolina bathroom law. UGH. White cisgender chauvinists and homophobes just had a field day with the rights of women, LGBTQIA+ people, and people of color this year.
It is beyond time to smash this.
10. Toxic relationships
This one is a little more personal. For so many of us 2016 proved to be the year in which we discovered certain relationships are just not worth continuing into 2017. That friend who talks smack about you. The family members who “aren’t racist,” but voted for Trump. The family member who refuses to accept you and instead harps on all your flaws. The sour, toxic people who act as emotional black holes when all you need is a little light in a dark year.
Do yourself a favor and follow a little more MuslimGirl advice. Kick toxic relationships into the dustbin of 2016.
There you have it. Some of these things might not disappear just because it’s 2017 now, but they can sure look forward to our renewed efforts to kick their asses in 2017.