I had a guy in one of my classes say that he was going to start wearing one of those red Trump hats around now that he is “our” President. His implication being that those who of us who are still upset by the outcome of the election can just go ahead and shut up about it. When I replied that those hats have become a symbol of hate, akin to wearing a KKK hood in public, he laughed me off and said that I was stupid for even comparing the two. While I’ll admit that my statement was a bit hyperbolic, not all Trump voters are racist’s, I don’t think that it was without merit. Americans who proudly don that stupid looking, made in China, cap are declaring something to everyone around them. They might say it’s pride in their candidate, or their party, or their religious beliefs; but for hundreds of millions of their fellow Americans, it stands for something else entirely.
It stands for hatred. Bigotry. Homophobia. Theocracy. Fascism. To name only a few.
When I see one of those caps, I can’t help but judge its wearer. I don’t know this person, but I immediately assume that they are either one of two things: ignorant or a racist. And by making this snap judgment of a complete stranger’s character, I am acting no better than the vile white supremacist who hates a person of color for nothing more than their skin tone. And that’s an unacceptable way to behave. I’m not a prejudiced person. I like to think that I grant every person equal respect. But unlike some people’s wealth, respect must be earned.
If I meet someone who casually drops racist epitaphs in my midst, because they assume that my fair skin means that I share their disgusting views, they’ve instantly lost my respect. This is how civilized society is supposed to work; someone does or says something horrid and the rest of the society reacts negatively to their wickedness. That way there is some sort of accountability for one’s words or actions. Unfortunately, we live in a social media-driven world, where people routinely espouse the most horrific shit imaginable without fear of recourse. In my opinion, this culture of anonymity, of not having to back up your words, has played a major role in the outcome of this election.
There are people casually dismissing the hate speech of their candidate, and now one week and 200+ reported hate crimes later they’re still denying that their candidate and his little hats stand for something sinister. How can a rational person ignore such an obvious correlation?
It’s either clinical denial or they live in a privileged bubble, through which nothing they disagree with is allowed entry.
There’s a great episode of 30 Rock where Liz’s handsome boyfriend, played by Jon Hamm, finds out that he isn’t actually good at anything and that people have been letting him skate by because of how handsome he is. Alec Baldwin’s character, Jack, informs Liz that this anomaly is known as “The Bubble.” This is the case for millions of middle-class white people in this country. They may not believe that their vote has lent credence to xenophobia and racism, but that’s exactly what they’ve done. They are simply oblivious to the type of systemic racism that has now become mainstream under this new President-Elect.
For further proof of this fact, you need look no further than Trump’s newly appointed chief White House advisor, Stephen Bannon. An avowed xenophobe and anti-Semite will be whispering sweet nothings in the ear of the most powerful person in the world for the next four years. Allah help us.
To all of you, happily residing in this seemingly impregnable bubble. I’m sorry that you grew up on an ethnically stale culdesac in a white-bread suburb, where the only minority you ever saw was the guy who cut your grass every week. I’m sorry that you don’t have any gay friends. You’re missing out. I’m not sorry for your inability to know what it feels like to be called a spic, kike, nigger, faggot, or any of the other horrible things people like me have been called by people like you. I envy you this. At the end of the day what your candidate has validified is the dehumanization of millions of people. It’s suddenly okay to think you’re better than someone simply because you burn quicker in the sun. That’s not just offensive, but categorically un-American.
So the next time you try to call someone stupid for relating one of those little hats to hatred, pause to consider who it is spray painting neo-nazi graffiti on synagogues, or spewing racial epitaphs at minorities on twitter, or beating to death a 24-year-old Saudi exchange student because of where he happened to be born. Try explaining to the family of Hussain Saeed Alnahdi why their son was murdered in Wisconsin on Halloween. Could it be that your candidates anti-Muslim rhetoric was exactly what some murderous little bastard needed to get it up and finally kill someone? You know, someone who didn’t look or speak like him.Someone who fell outside of his happy, privileged, bubble.
It’s time we burst this bubble for good.
Something to think about,
“Men are born free, yet everywhere are in chains.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
Semper Pugnare Tyrannis