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In Trump's America, I Fear



On Tuesday, November 8, I stood in front of the White House amongst a crowd of people, periodically checking my phone to see the election polls. I remember thinking how great it would be to be standing here when history is made - when the United States elected its first female president, Hillary Clinton.

As it became evident that Republican candidate, Donald J. Trump, would win the election, the crowd became aggressive. As one side of the crowd screamed "F**k Donald Trump," the other chanted, "Build a wall!" To avoid a riot, I left the area and made the trip back to campus. When I returned to my residence hall, the final results of the election were displayed on the television in my lounge. Donald J. Trump beat the odds. He will be our 45th president of the United States. I went back to my room to find my roommate crying. And later on, I cried too.

I cried because I am fearful. I am fearful that the campaign of racism, sexism and xenophobia that allowed Trump to win the election will have major social consequences. I am fearful that it will be okay for people to openly discriminate against marginalized communities. My roommate, who is a Muslim woman and a person of color, must now worry about how her community will be affected by Donald Trump's open discrimination toward her people.

I am fearful that Donald Trump's plans to reinstitute stop-and-frisk policies will ultimately increase incidents of police brutality and contribute to the mass incarceration of black and Hispanic men. I am afraid that one day I will get a phone call, in which I receive the news that my African-American stepfather has become a victim of police brutality because he has a gun permit, and exercised his right to carry a gun.

I am afraid that my best friend's cousins, who crossed the border unaccompanied, will be forced back to lives of poverty in El Salvador. One of them is a young boy, and if forced to go back, will most likely be recruited to join a gang. Even worse - is he refuses, he could be killed. I am also fearful that the rest of her family will never be able to make a better life for themselves by coming to the United States.

Millions of people living in poverty in Third World countries hope to come to the United States to fulfill their own American dreams. But many of them cannot afford to come here legally, or don't have the time to wait years for citizenship. They need help now. They are not rapists or killers. They are not "bad hombres." Often they are families who are desperate to earn a steady income and make sure that their kids receive an education.

My grandmother and father lived in Colombia when the country was poverty stricken and corrupt. They survived on just a mango and rice each day. They made it to America and have been working hard ever since. The fact that it is now socially acceptable for someone to call my father a "bad hombre" is completely disheartening. He never stole anyone's job. In fact, he created his own construction company and created jobs.

As a Latina woman, I must also be fearful for myself. It is now be acceptable for men to openly sexually assault women and receive little to no consequences. I worry that my future employers will look at me and judge me solely on my appearance.

So for everyone who has told me to move on and get over myself, I have every right to be angry. I have every right to question Donald Trump supporters. Because now I am fearful, and I do not know what tragic surprises the next four years will bring.

Cover: (Lorie Shuall/WikiMedia Commons) 

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