We are not overreacting to the President-elect

Maah Otchere

On Villanova’s campus, a black female student hit her head when she was pushed to the ground by white male Trump supporters screaming about Trump. Black students on campus are having racial profanities hurled at them, while black students at UPenn have been added to a ‘lynching list.’ Yes, an actual lynching list. This, my friends, is Donald Trump’s America, and he is not even in office yet. All of a sudden, people have become emboldened to use racial slurs and assault those who do not look like them, because they feel empowered by Trump’s success. Incidents like this have happened before and not just with the Black race, but with other minorities. The only difference is that it happened behind closed doors. Nobody talked about it and the acts were not so public. Now, we are seeing an influx of hate crimes against minorities of all categories, and quite frankly it is disturbing. I have heard many people on campus  opine that they do not understand why people are fearful of Trump’s presidency: “It’s just another president.” From the eyes of a minority, let me tell you my perspective. 

Many minorities are not scared of Trump. Rather, they are nervous about his influence and the impact of his rhetoric. They are alarmed and wary of his supporters and their actions. Let’s not beat around the bush. Let’s call it out. Many people who hate minorities and different cultures voted for Trump. You can say, as countless people have said in person and on my Facebook newsfeed, that “I am not a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, a misogynist, a supporter of rape culture, an Islamophobe or prejudiced against people with disabilities.” (Did I get them all?) Sure, you might not be, but you support people who are all of these things and maybe even more. 

I understand that there may be a very miniscule sum of people who embody all of these lackluster qualities, but no one can tell me these people do not indirectly support what Trump says. It is the same as the rule that silence is consent, meaning that the exceptionally small amount of people who supposedly don’t support Trump’s discrimination against many people are saying that they will watch what is happening but won’t intervene. These are the people who will say they don’t like racism or gender discrimination, but you won’t find them at a Black Lives Matter protest or a pride parade. These same people will say they don’t support rape culture, but ignore the fact that their friend slipped a sleeping drug into a woman’s drink. These same people will say to no end that they are not in support of Islamophobia but will turn around and say the peaceful religion of Islam is dangerous. These are the people who are truly scared of a changing, emerging, different America. Yes, “Let’s make America great again,” but let’s not take it backwards again. And for the record, when was America ever great? Was it during its colonialism, slavery, internment camps, segregation, reservations and more? Many people do not have the intellectual capability to understand that this phrase means let’s take America back to this: this looks familiar.

Why would anybody want this extreme violence again? With some of the images, this discriminatory mentality is already happening. If you don’t understand why people are so worried and anxious about this presidency, then you are a part of the problem. Many white people (yes, white people, because the majority of Trump’s supporters are white) need to wake up and think. I don’t know how many times I, and many others, have to say that this prejudiced mentality is foolish, empty-headed and unintelligent. It perplexes me to no end that people can say, “Yes, Donald Trump can definitely run an entire country, with his scholarly use of oratory and amazing sense of social awareness.” I mean, the man said he is going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. What? What reasonable person thinks that Mexico would do that? How do you tell people not to be nervous when people actually believe that a wall will be built? People need to stop telling me to calm down when just yesterday my mom and I were followed around in a Nordstrom Chanel section by a white salesperson when, in fact, my mother is a lawyer and an adjunct professor at a university, and can very much afford Chanel sunglasses. I’m tired of hearing that people are overreacting, and this mostly comes from white people. It must be nice to do “just fine” when you don’t have to worry about your skin color, gender, disability or sexual identity. You see, that’s just the thing. If you don’t have to worry about these qualities and more, stop acting like you understand or saying that you don’t understand, because you’re right—you never will. It is something that many of you don’t even think about, but for some of us, this is our everyday life and it just got 10 times graver. So, I am going to need everybody who is telling me to relax, to take several seats because I’m not here for it.