I was told that I should be quiet about this. I was told that I shouldn’t talk about this because it would not change anything. Yet, here I am talking to you America. I tend to feel the opposite about this particular event. If you see something terrible being done to someone else, directly or indirectly, I feel one should speak up. A few days ago some racist posters were put around my campus housing. It featured a picture of Obama and a blurb that said “We pay for your free stuff”. As a student who is a minority, has a high GPA and scholarships, this has saddened me to my core.
If it wasn’t for either of those things I would not even be in college. I work hard for everything I have achieved. It has hurt me greatly to know that someone felt this strongly about individuals such as myself that they had to have this broad display of racial profanity to show me that I don’t belong. It shows that people of this nature would rather see me gone then have to deal with people of my ethnic background.As a person that genuinely treats everyone with respect, I don’t feel I deserved this. I don’t feel I deserve to walk with my head down in fear that whoever did this is still out there on campus. What scares me is this- if they were able to get away with something that small very open, who’s to say that they won’t get away with more.
Part of the reason this is happening is because of Trump’s Nationalistic views on our country. He would rather not deal with the plurality of this country and subject us to the likes of friend-enemy tactics. This is already dangerous for many reasons because oneness has never amounted to anything good for other countries around the world. Think about all the other countries in the past and present that have experienced these same issues because a country was subjected to nation-state tactics. The other being that he has projected racist, sexist and xenophobic behavior and has expressed extreme dislike for the LGBTQ community. Is this really the kind of world we want to live in?
Now let me state this rather clearly- I know that as a minority, Racism has always existed. I also have had other racial incidents happen to me that were non-school related. This is not anything new. However, I will say that the amount of racial violence that has occurred as of late after the election has taken place because of Donald Trump. His actions have given people the green light to openly act racist, sexist, xenophobic, or to express hate toward the LGBTQ community.
I am not saying that everyone who voted Trump is a racist. I am saying that because of your choice, you have openly agreed that it is okay for others to act in these terrible ways to others of color and the LGBTQ people. You cannot just settle for one half of a person’s policies and expect the other half to not be important in the decision making process. These deeply seeded problems have always been plaguing our world for many generations, so I am not saying that it is all Trump’s fault for why any of this exists, but to sit there and say that he had nothing to do with newly evolved crimes happening on and off school properties is being not only short sighted, but also showing a failure to recognize that institutional racism is a thing.
Instead of telling us to stay silent, try talking to that women that is afraid of being objectified. Try talking to someone of color to see why they are afraid of us regressing back 139 years. Try talking to that person that is not “American” and has come from a different country to have a better life here in America. Try asking why they are afraid of being deported back before assuming it’s almost always for a criminal cause. The point is if you never subject yourself to reasoning of why these people feel the way they do, we will never move forward in this country.
America and policy in America is based in a set of principles unlike any other country. We were built on a sense of plurality. Which means we can live here, practice our own beliefs and cultures without the risk of being nationalized like most other countries. We are allowed to be as distinct and unique as we like in this country. That is a freedom compared to some places like North Korea. We take a lot of those freedoms for granted because at the moment it isn’t happening to us.
To be American means to commit ourselves to live amongst others without feeling the pressure to the same- this is what separates us from other nation-states. This is what makes America special.
I’m not asking you to apologize for the behavior that Trump has propagated. I’m not asking you to apologize for others that seem to be following these dangerous actions. You may have voted for him because you didn’t have a choice. You may have felt like you voted for what you felt the best choice was outside of reasons dealing with race, sex, culture, or gender. But what remains constant is this. Whatever reasons you had for voting for him, you have still enabled a man that embraces all these terrible things to go into office. It has impacted our American culture as a whole, even if that honestly was not your intent.
So how do we move forward from this? We need to come together as a nation. Just because someone else is propagating hate, it does not mean everyone else should follow suit. If you see a racist, sexist, xenophobic, or gender-related hate crime being committed, don’t be a bystander. Help them out. Because 9 times out of 10 you will run into that person again and you will need their help. Call it “karma” if you will. To quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Only love can conquer hate.”
This is how we “make America great again”.