In Trump’s America
Over the past week, I’ve struggled so much trying to wrap my head around what just happened. I’ve cried, I’ve screamed, I’ve been in shock. I never thought that in 2016 our country would vote for a man who has glorified racism, sexual assault, misogyny, and xenophobia just to name a few of his most popular attributes. I’m not surprised by the fact that a man like this exists, I’m more surprised that there were so many people who could look past those things enough to vote for him. I’ve been so angry these last few days, because it absolutely breaks my heart that there are people in my circles and community that have championed this man. I wasn’t going to post about this because I created my blog to share love, humor and relatable struggles. I wanted to share stories of inspiration, recipes that bring me joy, and some common hardships that would help someone find peace. I did not create my blog to discuss politics, but this election year has forced many people to open their eyes to the struggles our country still faces on a daily basis. A few days after the election I could not stop myself from sharing my perspective, my pain, my tears in hopes that someone out there would know that they aren’t alone in this, and in hopes that someone who voted for him could try to understand why this has hurt us so bad.
For the folks who checked the box next to his name, I have to assume that you must not know how it feels to be judged, labeled and classified before you even open your mouth. You must not know what it feels like for someone to scan over your body with eyes of disgust, picking apart every inch of you because you look different. Someone constantly weighing in on your worth, your significance, your heart before you are even given a chance. Do you know what it feels like to be called out, segregated, bullied, and shamed for just being you? I have to believe that you don’t have the slightest clue what it feels like to be hated so deeply for being born with a different amount of melanin in your skin. I have to assume that that is the only reason you keep trying to blame “immaturity” for the reason for our tears. This isn’t about being a “sore loser” or a “whiner.” This is about trying to come to terms with the fact that millions of your fellow Americans either voted for racism, didn’t care enough to vote at all, or wasted time making someone count votes for a dead gorilla. I don’t know what is worse, knowing that your neighbors and friends think being a raging misogynist who fuels racism is acceptable. Or knowing that some of your neighbors and friends didn’t even care enough about you to stand for anything. This election was not just about Republicans versus Democrats. This was so much bigger than that. This was about setting America back a hundred years. The privilege afforded to you by the color of your skin must be the only reason you keep telling me that we are okay and that everything will be fine. We’re not okay, and we are most certainly not fine. Maybe if I try to give you a few examples of how my life has been touched with hate and racism you’ll start to understand why this election was so important to us.
Imagine a little girl being tormented in school, because her house smelled like ethnic food instead of apple pie and silver spoon dreams. As a young girl over hearing your friends parents saying, “I don’t want you hanging out with her.” Even though their kid grew up to be a High School dropout who was in and out of jail. How about, as early as Middle School having to hear kids call you racial slurs, because “Your eyes are so chinky” Imagine going off to college, being kicked out of your boyfriends apartment by his devout Christian father. Telling you what a piece of crap you are, and that you weren’t raised as well as they were. That same Christian man declaring that he would immediately stop paying for his sons college tuition if he continued seeing me. That Christian man made me walk home without a jacket, in the rain, after he made me feel like the scum of the Earth, and his son stood there with his tail between his legs and did nothing. Imagine having to leave a party because your boyfriends friends couldn’t believe he was dating a wetback. Walking into a diner with that same boyfriend and being refused service because of what I was. Hearing, “Your daddy would be ashamed of you…” as we walked out.
If you are still finding it hard to relate to my tears, don’t worry there is more. Imagine being a working college student, serving tables and having to deal with comments like these from your customers.
“Hi, my name is Melvi and I’ll be taking care of you this evening. Can I offer you a beverage while you take a look at your menu?” A white man with a pony tail, that could’ve been my grandfather responded with, “Why don’t you take off your clothes and sit on my lap, thats the only thing you can help me with.” When you report the comment to your manager, he not only apologizes to them for the inconvenience but lets them stay in your section while another server takes care of them. Still wonder why women rarely report sexual assaults? I’ve also had a customer request a different (white) server after I greeted their table. The best one was when a woman with her three children didn’t even give me a chance to open my mouth to greet them before she started yelling, “We would like FOUR waters…” While holding up four fingers in my face. Not realizing that I spoke “American” and was majoring in English.
How about working for an industry for ten years and having to prove myself over and over again because I don’t have a penis? You must not know what it feels like to bust your ass every day for a company and know you are better at your job than the majority of the men and STILL never receive the respect from your “peers.” You must not know what it feels like to get into an accident, and the driver of the other vehicle come charging at your car and say, “Great, you probably don’t even have fuckin’ insurance.” Just because I look like, me…
For those of you who are still rolling your eyes, and trying to justify your reasons for overlooking blatant racism and misogyny here is just a quick list of comments I’ve had to endure my entire life:
“You’re just another shade of Ni**er”
“You’re just as useless as being a Ni**er.”
“Are you a Mexican or a Mexican’t?”
“What are you, I know you aren’t white…”
“Did your family come over on a boat?
“I bet your family are really good swimmers, being from Cuba.”
“Is your family here illegally?”
“Why are you doing a man’s job? You’ll never make it out there in the real world. Why don’t you go back to the office!”
“Why aren’t you at home taking care of your family? What are you trying to prove?”
“You aren’t one of those people who think that people are BORN gay are you?!”
“No offense but, you will be going to hell if you keep hanging out with those fags.”
“But, you sound white… And dress white.”
“So your baby is going to be mixed?”
“I like to call those babies, niglets.”
“How does your family feel about you dating out of your race?”
“But, I don’t consider you anything but white because the way you talk.”
“You look like a thick Asian.”
“How did your Mom get black people’s hair?”
“Are you part black, your mom’s hair is nappy like theirs.”
“If you’re Cuban, why is your Grandma black?”
The sad part about everything that I’ve shared with you, is that I’ve endured NOTHING compared to other minorities in our country. Fortunately, I’ve never been physically harmed by anyone. Just verbally attacked and threatened. My life has been a walk in the park in comparison to some of my friends of other minority groups and the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve learned to brush off the ignorance every time I hear a white man use the word ni**er, and then immediately followed by, “But, I’m not racist, I’m just kidding… I have that one black friend…” Just an FYI to people out there that are still using that word or any variations of it, it’s not okay. It will never be okay. Even if you have that one black friend. The thing that I am most fearful of right now is that the same men and women who have made the above comments to me and treated me unjustly and judged me prematurely, all have children. Their ignorance, their judgement, their careless comments and “jokes” will live on in their children and the cycle of racism and ignorance will never die. Their children will grow up with the same amount of hate and prejudices unless some coach, teacher or mentor shows them otherwise.
For those of you who helped this man into office or stood by and did nothing I need you to look at your own family, look at your children and imagine them coming home crying because someone either verbally attacked them or worse… Just for being themselves. Explain to them how you helped elect a man who has made it acceptable to be outwardly racist, sexist, and laughs about sexually assaulting women. Then, I need you to look at me… your friend, your co-worker, your neighbor and I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me that you didn’t care enough about me, my little girl or my family to stand against this man. What a privilege it must be to be able to look past a Presidential candidates racism and bigotry, because it will never affect you.
Your actions or lack thereof has completely shattered my heart into a million pieces. There are a few things that are getting me through these last few days, one being my beautiful, innocent, happy, baby girl. Who I will love and protect from the growing hate in our country to the best of my abilities. I will teach her acceptance, confidence, and pride for who she is and where her family came from. I will show her how to stand for what she believes in. Even though there is still so much hate in this country I know that love, hope and light will drive away my sorrow and tears. In the end love and acceptance will win and this awful chain of events that have lead us here have given us the opportunity to see what people are truly made of. Find the people who love and accept you, and who will stand up for you. We are out here, with open hearts and open arms, standing in the light.