It's been a little over a week since President-Elect Donald Trump's victory, and I'm going to ask us to stop doing something that we are hardwired to do, to reject what is arguably the human race's best trait.

Adapt. We shouldn't.

This won't be easy because we're good at adapting. It helps us move on. It gives us hope. It has, in the past, even kept us united. No matter what we've faced - wars, 9/11, mass shootings, the election of a man who built his campaign on bigotry and fear - we have always found a way to adapt, to find our "new normal."

Even as people protest Trump's win, I can feel it happening now - the inevitable lean into our instinct to rally, to hope, to bury bigotry under euphemisms, to have faith that no matter how bleak things seem, everything will work out, because well, that's what we do - we desire nothing more than to get back to normal.

A note to my fellow journalists: Do not buy into the normalization. Words matter. They matter now more than ever. It is not alt-right, it is not racially insensitive or racially tinged. It is racism, sexism, misogyny. It's flat-out bigotry.

I get it. There are bills to pay, kids to pick up from school. Birthdays to celebrate, deaths to mourn. Thanksgiving dinners to plan for. Sanity to keep.

And so, we adapt by playing nice.

Usually playing nice means you're accommodating someone's bad behavior, trying not to make bad things worse.

That's exactly what many people are doing since electing a man fundamentally unfit to lead, who was cheered to victory by the KKK and has named a white supremacist as his top adviser.

I understand that instinct at the workplace, on the train, at the Thanksgiving table ...

Actually, scratch that. Playing nice at our dinner tables helped get us here.

Every time I write about a black or brown kid getting in trouble or killed, people waste no time asking: "Where are the parents?" "Accountability," readers scream, "starts in the home!"

You know what else starts in the home? Racism, sexism, misogyny, and all prejudices that are taught or tolerated over America's dinner tables.

You know what I'm talking about - the ignorant comments you let go, the ones that I beg you not to allow this Thanksgiving - because your father or mother-in-law is just trying to get a rise out of you, because that's just crazy Grandpa or Uncle Joe, because your childhood friends are, deep down, good people.

Because life is easier when you play nice.

And now - here we are.

Telling ourselves that we should give Trump a chance.

He had one already, in a long, ugly campaign, and I must have missed the universal call for empathy and understanding when black and brown Americans coalesced into the Black Lives Matter movement.

Similarly, if calls to hire and promote women and people of color were as loud as the post-election calls to hire rural white reporters, we wouldn't still be fighting for inclusion.

And while everyone is jumping on the narrative that we were short on fact-based journalism during the election, open your eyes. There were plenty of facts reported during the campaign, and now, but mostly what I see are people choosing propaganda over hard facts, choosing - over and over and over - to give a chance to a man who thinks tweeting is leading.

Even if we wipe the slate clean, he's had plenty of chances since he won the election to show us that he's the president for all Americans.

Instead, he issued a mealy-mouthed "Stop it" to supporters harassing minorities.

He hired Steve Bannon.

He froze the media out at his first meeting with Obama and has doubled down on his attack on the press.

He refuses to own the consequences of his words and actions. How many times has the man tweeted "So unfair!" to facts?

Since Trump's election, my detractors' rhetoric has reached a whole new level, emboldened by what they see as a new world, their world.

One of the tamer ones:

"It's time to shut your wet back racist mouth. Get used to it, Trump is President, and I hope he builds the wall. Your illegal brethren have been f - up this country for far too long. If you don't like it, you can move back to Mexico."

Actually, I stay here because I'm Puerto Rican. American.

I stay here because I stand with those who refuse to play nice, who resist hate with brutal clarity. I stay here because we should never adapt to a new normal that's anything but normal.

215-854-5943

@NotesFromHel