Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos: An Open Letter To Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz


Dear Mayor Yulín Cruz,

Do you like hip hop? One of my favorite groups of all time is Public Enemy. Their socially conscious messages were decades ahead of their time. Their song, Black Steel In the Hour Of Chaoscomes to mind when I think about you and the public battle you’re having to fight with America’s so-called President Donald Trump.

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that in one of Puerto Rico’s darkest hours, you’re having to deal with the all too familiar plight of being a brown woman forced to deal with white male fragility. As a result of that insecurity-based feeble mindset, instead of being able to simply get the help you and your constituents need, you’ve had to humble yourself and kiss Trump’s ring.

Unfortunately, kissing his ring wasn’t good enough. Despite your humility, you were met with the all too common excuses given by white people of privilege. The same person who, in his demented brain, thinks he can annihilate North Korea, suddenly can’t help you and the people you represent because of “big water, ocean water.” It doesn’t even matter to him and his supporters that he sounds like an absolute idiot justifying his administration’s lack of timely and efficient support:

Nevertheless, you remained tactful and diplomatic longer than I would’ve. Everyone has a breaking point, though, and as I scroll through the heartbreaking pictures on your Facebook page, my heart becomes heavy thinking about what it must be like for you as a leader to not only watch helplessly as your people suffer, but essentially be suffering yourself in many of the same ways.

So while Trump acknowledged your gratitude and diplomacy, he did so ignorant to the fact that you get to have a breaking point:

When you reached your breaking point, you did what any reasonable person would do. You spoke your truth and you did so with a reminder to all who were watching/listening that playing your role didn’t wasn’t good enough for Trump, so meek and mild Carmen was no more:

I admire you greatly.

Too often white people forget that we as brown folks, especially brown women, have to constantly measure up to standards that are ever-changing. We also have to play games that we have never and will never be told the rules to. Regardless of that never-level playing field, we often thrive, excel, exceed, and impress. That’s a problem for white people who don’t feel we should ever have what they have or do what they do.

Having conveniently forgotten how dismissively he responded to your humility, Trump is now playing victim in response to your frank and accurate words here of late:

Well, yes, you were “very complimentary.” People who were raised with morals were taught that you can’t be a jerk when you’re in need and asking for something. However, now that you’ve spoken your truth and advocated for your constituents, you’re being attacked:

This isn’t okay. You know that and don’t need me to tell you. But this isn’t new for you, I’m sure. Because it is likely a familiar position for you, I trust that you’ll be okay. I also trust that you’ll soon put Trump right in his place and let him know that you don’t need or want “everything to be done” for you:

Moreover, this isn’t about what anyone wants “done for them.” This is about the United States’ obligation to Puerto Rico. That simple.

Again, I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. In fact, I reckon this letter is more for me than for you. Anyway, just know that you’re supported and that if by chance you’re wondering if anyone will call out the brazen displays of arrogant white privilege by Trump and his administration, I’m calling it out. It’s complete and total bull.

Praying for the people of Puerto Rico,

Friday F. Foster

Featured Image screengrab via YouTube.