Be Gentle, Be Bold.
Today feels like a knife in my chest. I have cried a ridiculous amount of tears over my nation and who we have chosen to represent this great country.
Intermingled with those tears and the sadness that I feel, is a terror deep down that I am now, as of today November 9th, 2016, living in a country where white supremacy and racism have been validated by the highest seat of power in the nation.
Myself and millions of minorities like me, now more than ever, feel like they are no longer welcome in a country that they have come to love. I am a born son of this nation, an American citizen. I love this country. It’s the only home I’ve ever known, and I fear for the future of it.
Anyone who has ever been made to feel scared for their life because of an ignorant person spouting racist rhetoric and hateful words; will understand that this election has without question emboldened those ideals, and validated our fears.
I have been made victim to acts of violence in the past, hate speech, have had things thrown at me, have been called sand n***er (the laziest of racial slurs), camel fucker, and have been told to go back to my homeland. I was recently, only 6 months ago, cornered by a man at Walmart who told me that he couldn’t wait to hunt down people like me when President Trump declared “open season on browns and blacks.”
Now I know what you’re going to say, “Trump would never do that, that’s just some fringe guy spouting off nonsense. He’d never get away with it. America is better than that.”
But it’s less Trump that I’m worried about, and more his followers who do adhere to principles of white supremacy and racism. I will likely never meet President Trump, but myself and minorities like me will DAILY encounter people who because of him feel emboldened and compelled to act out their racism.
If you’ve never experienced hatred towards you for your skin colour, then I don’t expect you to understand or relate to the fear that I and other people feel right now. You’ve likely never had things thrown at you or been made to feel threatened for your life because of your skin colour; but if you have then you understand.
What saddens me is the light-hearted responses I see to people expressing their fear.
“You’ll be okay :-)” “That will never happen, stop worrying.” “You need to grow up, and stop pouting just because your candidate lost.”
I am begging you with tears in my eyes as I write this, please please please be gentle. If someone is being vulnerable about their pain or their fear, and you make light of that pain, that person will lose trust with you. These are your FRIENDS. These are your NEIGHBOURS. These are your relatives, your colleagues, your baristas, your technicians, your countrymen.
And if you are being sincere in wanting to express comfort to people who are genuinely and for good reason afraid for their lives, don’t tell me you feel bad.
Don’t tell me you feel sorry for what has happened. Tell me you’ll fight for me and people like me; because right now, you have a voice that for the next 4 years is going to be MASSIVELY louder than mine. To quote Hasan Minhaj, “white people, you have the opportunity to be a Trojan Horse of Justice.” Use your privilege to help those who have none.
America, I like you a lot. I love your families, your neighbourhoods, your people. Your strength has always been your people. Please do not use that strength to hurt us. Prove me wrong about my fears of a Trump presidency. Prove me wrong that you will not perpetuate your own stereotype of racism and apathy towards injustice. Prove us wrong, because right now it feels very dark.
And if you are like me and you are afraid, please come find me. I will pray with you, I will weep with you, and at the end of all that crying and praying I will stand with you, stronger together.