For some people, nothing really changed in the weeks after Election Day. But for others, everything changed.
Just ask Cory Thomas, an illustrator and graphic designer based in Atlanta, Georgia. After Trump’s election, Thomas couldn’t shake the swelling trepidation that crept around the edges of his life. As a black man who spent a lot of time in spaces that were predominantly white, even in a majority-black city, he was worried.
“In 2017, we’ll have people in power whose social agendas (consciously or not) either reject or ignore the concerns of minority populations,” Thomas says. “Do I think it’ll literally make me go insane and fear every white person I meet? Well, no. But the heightened protectiveness that it’ll require is probably unhealthy.”
Thomas turned to pen and ink with his feelings, just as he had so many times before. He wanted to articulate the strange, unsettled feeling that now consumed his daily life.
Taking a brief hiatus from his ongoing webcomic, “Watch Your Head,” Thomas published this new comic on Fusion to express his apprehension. “It’s not necessarily new, but it’s a conversation that many people of color feel is frustratingly unheard,” he says.
Check it out below:
The comic was an immediate hit, bringing in an overwhelmingly positive response from millions of people.
“That shows how eager people are to have the conversation,” Thomas says. He wasn’t trying to speak directly to white Americans or for black Americans; he was just trying to articulate what he’d been feeling, to communicate and connect with other people.
But the honesty and humanity of that experience resonated more than he expected with a wide range of people of all different skin tones. People of color thanked him for capturing what they themselves had been struggling with since the election; others found a new understanding of their responsibilities as neighbors and allies instead of being passive bystanders with good intentions.
The comic’s ambiguous ending is powerful because it shows that the problem still persists. Now, it’s up to us to do something about it.
“Listen, acknowledge the disadvantages that exist, and support the dismantling of racist systems in whatever way they can,” Thomas says.
“The work to reset the pendulum doesn’t start four years from now. By then it’s too late,” Thomas adds. “Figure out your role in restoring balance and get active. Even if your only calling is to go into a booth and vote, do that. Do something.”
If you were waiting for a call to action? Now you have it. Let’s get to work.