As you stared at the television screen, hoping America would take a step toward acceptance and equality, and away from racism, sexism, and xenophobia, the colors slowly turned bright red. This was a red that stirred fear of hate crimes and bigotry within minorities, a red symbolizing the victory of the Republican party. Wake up, America: Donald Trump’s reign is here.
For centuries, minorities have fought for their rights, freedom, and a louder voice in their communities. However, now, genuine fear and anger has risen in the hearts of millions of minorities in the United States.
Although racism still lingers throughout our country today, we have seen major progress in the treatment of minorities over the years. Through the efforts of mass movements created by minorities themselves, America had moved forward. Yet, after the election, perhaps this progression has not come as far as we thought.
An overwhelming amount of supporters justified every statement Trump made throughout his campaign. From telling a Mexican judge he was not fit for his position because of his ethnic descent to calling Hillary Clinton “nasty” for her assertiveness, people viewed his actions as acceptable. In the short months of Trump’s limelight, instances of explicit discrimination have skyrocketed, revealing that racist and sexist ideologies are still prevalent.
While there are Trump supporters who may disagree with his derogatory views on race, sex, and religion, they still support a man who does. These individuals have the privilege to immerse themselves in ignorance. They view Trump’s statements as if they do not hold larger, more harmful implications for our society.
People often fail to realize that minorities do not have the luxury to leave this election without fearing for their safety. Instead, their race, sexuality, gender, or religion now put them in jeopardy more than ever. Many people to this day hold the belief that men are superior to women, white people are above people of color, and straight people deserve more rights than those in the LGBTQ+ community.
Oftentimes, people of these minorities are treated as if their lives are inferior to those who are part of the heterosexual, white, protestant, and male norm. America holds up these ideals that cause minorities to be treated differently, simply because they do not fit into society’s standards. The support Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence have for these views forces minorities into a state of fear over the dangers it may pose to their overall safety. It is not normal for people to fear for their safety because of a president. This is the impact of Trump’s words.
His beliefs and entire persona have empowered many to express their own views in any way they see fit. Trump’s campaign has encouraged more explicit sentiments of racism and sexism, along with increased instances of physical and verbal assaults. According to Southern Poverty Law Center, over 700 reported incidents of harassment took place following the presidential election from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16. Sixty five percent of those hate crimes occurred within the first three days. People celebrated Trump’s victory with threats against people of color, warning immigrants to have their cards ready to prepare for deportation. These hate crimes have escalated to the extent of ripping hijabs off of women’s heads, as well as swastika vandalism.
Despite these actions, people claim that the fear caused by Trump’s presidency is completely unwarranted and illogical. Despite every derogatory statement he has made, we are told that he deserves our respect and should be trusted with the future of the nation. However, racism and sexism are unacceptable and should never be normalized. We can no longer choose to remain passive and ignore discrimination, because doing so will only worsen these issues in the coming years. While erasing the discriminatory views perpetuated in the past will continue to be difficult, we have to fight against such prejudice. Even as a minority, never believe that your voice means nothing to this country.