Thank you to the friends who have reached out to me to ask if I’m ok following the election. I’m surrounded by wonderful, compassionate people who I know have my back and validate my feelings as a woman, an immigrant, a person of color and as a citizen of the Unites States. I’ve managed to surround myself with people who love, are open minded and big hearted, so it was especially gutting to see the results roll in.
This election was a hard one to swallow. I have always felt the undertones of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and every other -phobia and -ism in the U.S. Most of the blatant stuff I experienced was growing up in suburban Dallas. An elderly white man who came up to me in the grocery store, saying, “Thank God you’re not Japanese,” and making a gesture like slicing the throat. A friend and classmate who told me I was going to hell because my family isn’t Catholic. Too many instances of “Go back to China” uttered or yelled at me while walking down the street. It’s no wonder I haven’t gone back to live in Dallas since high school graduation. (Sorry, Dallas friends. It’s not you. I come back to visit BECAUSE of you!)
The comments seemed to go underground or out of earshot when I became an adult. Or perhaps I insulated myself from them by hiding in my bubble of accepting friends and living in progressive cities. But this election unearthed a lot of buried hatred and made it ok for it to be loud and out in the open again.
People paint this Trump phenomenon as a backlash to a society that’s become too PC. They applauded him for “speaking his mind,” aka being unkind. They say we should be colorblind and respond with “ALL lives matter,” which is trying to brush the issue under the rug. Folks, the rug is bulging. There’s no more room to hide how much you want to say horrible things to your neighbors, co-workers, friends and family or how much you don’t want to acknowledge that those people are hurting and you don’t care to do anything about their pain. It’s spilling out. Trump was leading the way, and that’s what makes me so sad about this election.
From the Washington Post:
“Those potential voters, [Jared] Taylor [editor of the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance] told The Post, are part of a silent majority who are tired of being asked to celebrate diversity but are afraid of being labeled bigots.”
They want everyone to be colorblind, but the only color they like is white. Am I reading this wrong? Homogenous. No shades of brown. No taco trucks. Speak some g-d English.
I don’t know about the silent majority, but diversity is the COOLEST part about living in America. I get to experience different foods and celebrate other culture’s holidays and traditions throughout the year. I’m exposed to different kinds of music and art and dance. Creativity feeds on creativity because of diversity. Life would be utterly boring without this mingling of people of different backgrounds.
So yeah, I’m ok. I’m disappointed, but I’m going to make it my mission to be compassionate towards others, even if they refuse to be compassionate towards me. The husband and I have been talking about road tripping again in 2017, which means we will drive through red states. When that happens, I will endure the silent majority’s odd stares (Asians are 4% of the US population, but we’re concentrated in major cities) and smile at them and say Howdy in an obnoxious Texas twang to throw them off. I will be kind to them, knowing their exposure to people of diversity is limited. I will blow them away with how well I speak English.
As for Trump, he is being used as an example in our household of behavior not to copy. “Do we touch people’s bodies without their permission?” “No, we don’t.” Thanks, Donald.
Our country will move forward, even as it feels like it’s going backward. Those of us who voted for inclusion, togetherness and celebration of diversity, let’s use this energy on the local level. Join me in registering voters. Get educated about our political process. Reach out to even those who don’t like our kind and bathe them in compassion. Love trumps hate.