The Maroon

A Very Personal Election

Joslynn Sanchez, Staff Writer

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In 2016, underlying divisions in American society were brought to light through the presidential election of November. Animosity throughout the election arose between political parties and even crossed racial lines that exposed sentiments some thought had significantly diminished since the 1960’s Civil Rights movement. Many say that this year’s election let America to show its true colors, but many of us already knew these colors were there; others just hadn’t seen them yet. A racist reality TV star will become president on January 20, 2017, and I fear for what the future of this country will become.

Throughout the election, I felt as though I was simply a bystander watching videos of Hillary Clinton disregard Black Lives Matter advocates, and Latino children get bullied and harassed by Trump supporters about a wall they knew nothing about. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate crimes spiked during the week of the election, and I am certain that this is not a coincidence. The day after Trump was elected as president, I was faced with comments and racial slurs like “wetback”, “go back to Mexico”, and “build a wall”. November 8th was the day my skin color became more than just my identity, it was the day that my skin color became someone else’s justification to hate me. My experience is not unique to just me, or Austin High. Many people throughout the country had similar and worse post-election experiences. The horrendous stories on the internet of people-of-color being threatened with deportation and assault were not only alarming but have become sadly commonplace in Donald Trump’s America.

This presidential election was one of the most important elections for people of color because of the fact that many decisions made by the federal government directly affect communities of color. The main issue that astounded me was the fact that many people, Hillary and Trump supporters alike, assumed that racism had simply disappeared after the 1960’s Civil Rights movement. One cannot simply forget Mrs. Clinton’s blatant disregard for Black Lives Matter supporters throughout her campaign before she was the Democratic Party nominee. When protesters demanded an apology for her racist remarks calling black teens “super predators” and for her support of mass incarceration that directly targeted poor minority communities, she expelled them from her campaign event and proved that, rather than apologize for her direct racism, it was her time to focus on the issues that her white donation givers had in mind.

Though the issue of racism in the Clinton campaign was much overlooked, Donald Trump’s use of xenophobic rhetoric and racism was no deal breaker to America, but rather it what got him most of his support. Whether that be calling Mexicans rapists, Muslims terrorists, or advocating for birtherism (the racist conspiracy that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States), Donald Trump’s prejudices have never failed to expose themselves throughout his campaign trail. And, now that he’s been elected as president, many of us wait in anxiety for the future policies he has in mind.

People have failed to take into account the damage that Donald Trump could possibly inflict upon minority communities, whether that be through direct policies or simply the social norms that have become created under Donald Trump’s society. Direct racial targeting, public activity of the KKK and Nazi parties, and the failure to address ongoing structural violence have all become so much more prevalent and obvious, and Mr. Trump isn’t even in the White House yet.  The struggle will now be finding ways to combat this racism when, once again, these prejudices have reached the Oval Office. The consequences of this presidency, both socially and economically in nature, are the fault of the bystanders of this election those who failed to do anything to reject instances of racism throughout this campaign trail. It’s time for America to ask itself: how did we let it get this bad?

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A Very Personal Election