How politics in Trump’s America divides families

“At least a week before their arrival, I was engaged in an internal struggle,” Sayers says. “I knew that the signs were going to be inflammatory.” Unable at first to decide what to do, Sayers called a family meeting with her husband and two children, who are 18 and 20, to ask whether they thought the signs should stay up or come down. Her son and daughter immediately told her that the signs should remain where they were. “I thought, This is a moment where I can stand for my beliefs, and I can stand by what I value,” Sayers’s son, Kenan, told me. “And I don’t want to look back and say, well, ‘I could have done this, but I didn’t.’”

Both of Sayers’s children are adopted, and Kenan is black. Sayers, who is white, says now that if it weren’t for the “Black Lives Matter” sign, she might have removed the signs temporarily for the sake of keeping the peace with her family. But she could see no way to explain to her son why the “Black Lives Matter” poster should be put away because his grandparents and aunt were coming to the house.

Before the trip, Sayers got a text from her sister, Terryn Owens, asking her to take down any political signs displayed in her yard for fear they would upset their conservative parents. “I texted her, ‘If you can tell me appropriate language to tell my son why we have to take the Black Lives Matter sign down, I will do it,’” Sayers says. Her sister’s response was one of shock and dismay. “You have a Black Lives Matter sign?”