Being Muslim in Donald Trump’s America
December 7th, 2015. I’ll always remember that day. This was the day that Donald Trump called for a ban of all Muslims from coming into the United States. When asked to clarify if this included US citizens or Muslims serving in the military a spokesmen for his campaign said that it would include “all Muslims.”
Back then, I remember thinking about the implications of this. I remember thinking that if Donald Trump was President in 1980, then my Dad wouldn’t be able to come here. I wouldn’t be born here. And I remember thinking at the time that if he becomes President; then there are people out there who would never have the same opportunities that I did.
After working on many campaigns in college, I had decided that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Long hours, hectic schedules, and no job security were all deal breakers for me. But my attitude changed quickly after hearing Trump on TV that day.
If I didn’t do everything I could to stop him, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.
After some deliberation, I moved to Ohio to help work on making Hillary Clinton our next President.
A lot of people on the campaign used to talk about how they had never met a Trump supporter. I wasn’t in that bucket. There were always people who supported Trump around me. But it made me wonder how people I grew up with, people I am friends with, people I pledged my fraternity with could support this. Did they think I should be banned from the country as well? Did his views supplant my rights as a human being in their eyes?
This was the part that always bothered me.
After we lost, it became a somber reality for me and the rest of the Muslim community here in America. 48% of the voting population in the US didn’t think we were welcome. Or if they did, they didn’t care enough to stop it. It just wasn’t a priority to them.
Many people in the media are saying that Trump’s supporters aren’t racist. Maybe they’re not. But Donald Trump is the epitome of modern day American racism. The Muslim ban alone shows the hatred that is a part of his platform. It goes back to the idea of racism. How do we define racism?
Is racism merely the idea that your race is superior to others? Or is it also support for the institutions that make racism possible. Is support for someone who wants to resegregate schools racism, even if that person does not personally support this policy? Of course the answer would be yes. In the same way, if you support or vote for someone who would ban people for their religious beliefs, your views have to at the very least be tinged in racism and bigotry.
To all of my white male friends on Facebook, who keep telling us and other minorities that we should “stop freaking out” and that it’s just an election. Please realize the position you are in. Trump’s policies will not affect you in the way they will us. The idea that Trump “won’t be able to do any of this” is an inane argument. Of course he could. In fact he could probably enact his Muslim ban without the approval of Congress.
To all of my friends making angry posts or going to protests, where were you during the election? Were you making phone calls to help Hillary win? Were you knocking on doors? Were you telling all of your friends and family in swing states to go out and vote? Did you even bother getting to the polls yourself and voting for Hillary Clinton? Because if the answer to any of these questions is no, then you are also a part of the problem. And you have no right to complain.
I can understand why people were angry in this election. I can understand why they hate politicians. I can understand why people would want to blow up the whole system and elect an outsider.
What I don’t understand is why people would be ok with using racism to meet these ends. At what cost are you willing to do this? Is it worth it if tells 1.4 billion people across the world that they are not good enough for America?
I really don’t get it. And maybe that’s why I wasn’t able to help stop it.