Emotional Distress within this Trump Era

Sandy Johal

This new era has been alarming for several reasons. The shock has diminished however, the emotional distress is ongoing and real. What’s most disheartening are the condoned increasing racist attacks, fear, and hate. All real facts that are significant enough that influence us emotionally.

Whether you’re a Trump supporter or not, or partisan to a specific side, this taps into a clearly different arena. It’s about skin color, culture and religious inequality. In February of this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama based nonprofit organization, has reported that it’s count of hate groups within the country, has increased. Even though racism has been prevalent for a long time, we’ve made steps forward to encourage diversity in the workplace, in the school systems, and within our community. Now we’re at present taking a few steps backward. After our former black president stepped off the stage, hidden racism came forward. It’s always been there. These hidden feelings came strongly forward with a fierceness stemming from justification. Expression that it’s accepted because our leader has indirectly, directly too, verbalized and referenced toleration. It’s almost a ‘safe place’ to openly express their distaste to other races.

Vulnerability is how I can sum up my feelings since President Trump became the leader of this country. As a person born to Indian immigrants, even though I was not born in India, it leaves me in a state of distress. I’m not alone in this, there are,

Approximately 43.3 million foreign-born people are living in the United States.

Immigrants come to this country with strong ethics of hard-work, they adapt to our culture, our language and way of life. They overcome many obstacles and immense adversity to even arrive on American soil. They left their mother countries to have a better life, not only for them but for future generations. The facts:

As immigrants and their descendants integrate into American society, many aspects of their lives improve.
Immigrants added an estimated $2 trillion to the U.S. GDP in 2016.
In 2010, more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants and their children. These companies employ more than 10 million people worldwide.

On a completely personal note, if my parents had NOT immigrated, I probably would be living in a village in India, the Punjab state, with the basics of life. My home would have been in a poor neighborhood and I would have had an arranged marriage, without a choice, by the age of 18. I would have the basics of education but perhaps I would be a housewife with domestic duties. I would not have had the options that I do today. The option to choose a career, the option to marry or not to marry, the option to have children, the option to date, the option to select a university, the option to be independent, the options are tremendous and endless. There is nothing but freedom for me because my parents left their home country, with $5 in their pocket.

So, to those of you who feel the need to point fingers at immigrants, take a look at yourself. Would you have the courage to leave your country, leave your family, leave your belongings and move elsewhere? Learn a new language and adapt?

I hope that you can value an immigrant as opposed to feel as if they are a detriment.

This era has left me feeling vulnerable and even fearful for my life, as I walk through neighborhoods and peering eyes, cast upon me, as if I’m not welcome. The only way that I attempt to diminish these faces of hate, is by reminding myself that it is my choice to walk this street. A choice that is all mine and was only given to me because of the strength of my parents. I hold my head high and that is my armor of deflection.

If you’re having feelings of anxiety, fear and vulnerability at the workplace or society in general, I suggest the following:

  • Join a movement to channel your fears into a sense of feeling heard.
  • Join a group to help with dealing and communicating your fears.

A coping mechanism that could help is:

  • Wear an invisible armor and badge to remind yourself you’re worthy of being here and think of all that you contribute to this beautiful country.

After all, we’re all human beings, having a human experience, the only difference is the variations of colors and cultural mosaics we each bring forward. The borders, the lines we draw, separating our globe into sections shouldn’t separate us, divide us or promote hate. In fact, if we could only learn from each other, embrace cultures, imagine what that would do.



1)The Guardian, How to survive and resist in the Trump era: practical things you can do now. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/11/how-to-survive-and-resist-in-the-trump-era-practical-things-you-can-do-now by Emine Saner

2) Forbes.com, 3 Reasons Why Immigrants Are Key To Economic Growthhttps://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartanderson/2016/10/02/3-reasons-why-immigrants-key-to-economic-growth/#16496e257dab By Stuart Anderson

3) National academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. Immigration’s Long-Term Impacts on Overall Wages and Employment of Native-Born U.S. Workers Very Small, Although Low-Skilled Workers May Be Affected, New Report Finds; Impacts on Economic Growth Positive, While Effects on Government Budget Mixed http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=23550

4) Center for American progress, The facts on Immigration today: 2017https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/reports/2017/04/20/430736/facts-immigration-today-2017-edition/#fn-430736-63

5) The Los Angeles Times, June 20th, 2017 There’s a virus in our country’: The ‘Trump effect’ and rise of hate groups, explained. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-southern-poverty-law-center-05312017-htmlstory.html

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