An Open Letter To The Asian Trump Supporter From Shia LaBeouf’s Livestream Protest
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An Open Letter To The Asian Trump Supporter From Shia LaBeouf’s Livestream Protest

You think you know exactly why Democrats lost, but the pitfalls in your reasoning say otherwise.

An Open Letter To The Asian Trump Supporter From Shia LaBeouf’s Livestream Protest

It’s been three months since we elected Donald J. Trump as president of the United States and leader of the free world, and it was only a couple of days ago that I saw one of my Facebook friends share a video posted by Milo Yiannopoulos. It was of you on Shia LaBeouf’s “He Will Not Divide Us” livestream at the Museum of Moving Image in New York, “crushing liberals and identity politics” (as the title of the video stated). While the livestream protest has been shut down by the museum due to increasing violence, Milo’s video of you has hit over 14 million views on Facebook. Influential individuals from all political views have responded, both positively and negatively.

I am a South Asian-American woman. I am also a registered Democrat and staunch liberal. I support Black Lives Matter. I proudly call myself a feminist. I believe in climate change and government measures to protect the environment. I am an ally for refugees, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and Hillary Clinton in the general election. And, I have many things to say to you. I’m glad that you backed up your claims with evidence from different media outlets such as Slate, The Guardian, Salon, and Breitbart. I agree that we have to “fight with our words, not with sticks and stones.” Nevertheless, while I’m very impressed with how substantive many of your arguments were, there were some occasions in which they lacked nuance. I’m here to reply back to some of the accusations you have placed upon left-leaning Americans like myself.

So, let’s unpack some of your claims one by one.

1. “You [liberals] lost because you told the poor, white, working families in rural Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan that despite losing their jobs, their factories closing down and their communities emptying out, that they were the privileged ones.”

Let me start this off by saying that I agree with part of your statement. While Donald Trump hasn’t always been so friendly towards small businessmen, I can imagine how Hillary Clinton’s protectionist, “big government” policies could heighten the struggles of many working-class families in America. But, it has always puzzled me how Donald Trump, a man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and once asked his father for “a small loan of a million dollars,” could connect with poor, white families because he “understood their struggle.”

As you said, the working-class struggle doesn’t discriminate. So, this leads me to my question for you: If Donald Trump really did understand the poor man’s problems, why was he so popular among poor whites and not with poor people of color? What about poor black families? Why couldn’t he connect with poor and working-class Asians other than yourself?

Many white families living in poverty were desperate to find the answer to one of the most pressing questions in their minds: “Why aren’t we progressing?” It didn’t matter whether the answer was right or not; they just wanted some kind of guidance. And, one day, they found a reason.

When Donald Trump first launched his presidential campaign, he decided to conveniently point a finger towards Mexican immigrants, calling them “rapists” and “drug dealers.” He promised to “build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.” His campaign later targeted other minorities that were already vulnerable to attack: Muslims, refugees, black folks, you name it. Donald Trump created a solid, multifaceted excuse for all the obstacles that the poor, white side of America was facing: it was just so easy to paint people of color as the villains. Lost your job? Blame China, Japan, and Mexico for outsourcing the labor force. Paying too much taxes? Blame immigrants and black folks who rely on the welfare system for survival.

And, you know what? They believed it. They thought that they had found an answer to all their problems. Because this is what white America has always done and will continue to do -- dump the country’s problems and responsibilities on people of color.

But, here’s what Donald Trump doesn’t tell you. American manufacturers only choose to outsource their labor force because they want to take advantage of cheap labor and lenient workplace regulations. He doesn’t mention how many poor Americans are on the brink of losing their healthcare thanks to the impending Obamacare repeal. Under Betsy DeVos, the public education system will continue to suffer. Donald Trump has tapped into the fears of the poor whites across America, exploiting their desperation for his own personal gain.

2. “Your side has chased down Trump supporters, beat them up. You’ve egged a woman that just wanted to be at a Trump rally.”

Alright, then. Care to explain the following scenarios then?

White man yanks a Muslim woman’s hijab off her head and choked her at San Jose State University.

White Trump supporter sucker-punches a black anti-Trump protestor in the face at a rally.

Trump supporter pulls a gun on protesters at a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland, Oregon.

Male Trump supporters assault black women at rallies and after the election.

On second thought, here is a nonexhaustive list of incidents involving Trump supporters harassing and assaulting women as of October 2016.

Oh, wait, there’s more! Here is some data about the hundreds of hate crimes committed against people of color since Election Day.

I mean, I can go on and on and on. But, sure, go ahead and tell me all about how getting egged is worse than being threatened with rape and murder.

3. “You threw rocks at people that just wanted to hear Milo speak. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with Milo. You don’t hit and attack and smash people with rocks just because they wanted to hear what he has to say.”

I’m a UC Berkeley student who thought Mr. Yiannopoulos had the right to speak as much as students had to protest his message; I agree that the black-clad antifa anarchists (who were unaffiliated with UC Berkeley, by the way) transgressed their limits this time. But, it looks like you’ve been on 9GAG so often that you’ve forgotten that not all liberals belong to the farthest left of the political spectrum, just like how most conservatives eschew and distance themselves from alt-right politics.

I understand that many liberals are guilty of stereotyping all Republicans as bigots, misogynists, or Nazis -- I’m very sorry if you have had to deal with that in the past. Many of my fellow leftists have belittled moderate Republicans who actually identify as socially liberal or even voted for Hillary Clinton in the general election. But, if you’re going to blanket all left-leaning Americans as responsible for the damage during the Yiannopoulos protests, then does that give me the right to blame you and other conservatives for the white Trump supporter who shot up that mosque in Quebec City? Or for Robert Dear, the white conservative shooter who took 3 lives at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado? Or for Dylann Roof, the white supremacist Trump supporter who fatally shot nine people at a black church in Charleston? Exactly.

4. "This is why you lost, liberals: you embraced identity politics."

Identity politics? You mean the same identity politics Donald Trump is using to deport innocent Muslims? The same identity politics Donald Trump exploited in his presidential campaign in order to dump hatred, fear, and resentment on non-white Americans? The same identity politics Donald Trump used to pander to conservative Christians, claiming to fight political correctness with a so-called War on Christmas? Trump’s presidential campaign and success thrived on identity politics. He channeled the fears of specifically poor white families into something divisive and destructive, while appealing to conservative evangelicals who think that the Starbucks holiday cups are the most frightening abomination known to man.

I want you, as well as other Trump apologists, to remember something. If the government tries to trample all over our rights, we will shove back. If the government tries to pit people against each other, we will tear those walls down. If the government tries to erase us, we will fight until we are recognized. But, let’s not lie to ourselves by pointing fingers at the other side and calling each other names. Rather than trying to shut each other down, let’s have a conversation and debate. You’re right. It’s time to put down our fists and take off our masks. There has been a lack of respect on both sides of the spectrum, but if we want to close our nation’s political divisions, we have to reach out to each other, not wall each other off. Because human decency should not be a partisan issue.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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