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Donald Trump Makes Racism Disgustingly ‘Cool Again’



Boston University


Donald Trump Makes Racism Disgustingly ‘Cool Again’

Bigotry has always been present; now it's just normalized.

Yasmin Younis


There were moments where I couldn’t breathe, moments where tears welled up in my eyes, where I wanted to throw my laptop across the room. As I watched the events of pure hatred unfold over the weekend in Charlottesville, I was sick to my stomach.

Then I tuned in to re-watch the same horrifying events viewing the Vice Documentary, "Charlottesville: Race and Terror."

It’s hard to formulate words and coherent thoughts because I can’t even process all of the emotions I’m currently feeling. I tried to distance myself from all the toxicity happening in the world, I tried to remove myself from all the hate, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t.

You may be wondering, why and how am I so affected?

It’s because I’m not privileged enough to say I’m apolitical, to say that politics don’t affect me, and that I don’t care to follow what’s happening in the world.

Significantly, I can’t turn my head because I’m the daughter of Iraqi immigrants and Arabic is my mother tongue. It’s because I’m a proud and practicing Muslim. It’s because I’m a woman. It’s because my identity is under attack every single day affecting my day-to-day life. Today, in 2017, being an Iraqi-American Muslim woman is an act of resistance. This new reality is thanks to the President of the United States who has normalized a feeling of being unwelcome and terrified if you're not white like him.

It’s petrifying to witness these “alt-right activists” (accurately labeled as neo-Nazi, white supremacists), look like the “average Joe.” Sure, they congregated together at this “rally” waving Nazi flags, chanting that they hated Jews, Black people, members of the LGTBQ+ community, and anyone who doesn’t fit the Aryan mold. But ask yourselves: where are they and who are they on a daily basis?

Scary enough, they’re right next to you, your classmates, coworkers, neighbors and they’re everywhere.

This insane scene of people tearing each others identities apart, dehumanizing people they see day in and day out, was exactly what I saw when I watched this documentary.

At the eighteen-second mark, there’s a white male carrying a tiki torch. Why does he stick out more than the others? Because he’s 21-year-old Clark Canepa, a graduate from Ladue Horton Watkins, a high school just about five minutes from my home in St. Louis. He was a classmate to my friends.

A screenshot of Clark Canepa from the Vice Documentary.

The familiar faces didn’t stop there, former Boston University student, Nicholas J. Fuentes, was among the hateful crowd. He was a previous classmate of mine. Then there was Matthew Colligan; he lives in the same neighborhood in Boston that I live in.

A screenshot of former Boston University student, Nicholas Fuentes, 18, in a Youtube video.

To put it simply, these neo-Nazi, white supremacist, xenophobic, hate-mongering individuals have successfully integrated and normalized racism within our society with the backing of our president. But don’t be fooled, these hateful thoughts didn’t develop overnight. They’ve been around since the “founding” of this country. All that’s different is that instead of wearing white cloaks and heading to rallies, these “protesters” wear khakis and proceed to live their day-to-day lives after nonchalantly spreading hate.

Not only is hate now normalized, what’s different is that the majority is starting to finally realize what marginalized peoples have always known - that we don’t live in a post-racial society because we had one Black president.

Honestly, it’s hard being marginalized and the intersection of my marginalization is even harder to comprehend. But what’s even harder is trying to defend my right to live my life and be myself, especially after witnessing the ugly truth that hate has finally surfaced in the mainstream. But this isn’t about my struggles; this is about the fight for equality, and the fight to finally be able to be who you are without living in fear. The fight to finally end my existence being my strongest form of resistance because embracing my identity should not be a weapon of war; it should be a fucking right.

During Donald Trump’s unintentional press conference yesterday, he stated, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” displaying his true colors that we have known all along.

Trump’s comments are blatantly racist, and awhile it would have been so easy to accept the horrible reality of the situation, there are those who hate and there are those who will combat that hate while they die trying. Heather Heyer did.

A memorial in honor of Heather Heyer who lost her life over the weekend. (Steve Helber/Associated Press)

There are two sides, Donald. As the people of this country, we want you to choose a side to stand on. That’s a rhetorical question because the answer here is obvious: he stands on the wrong side.

I feel for everyone who’s been affected by these events. Especially so for those who are struggling to comprehend their emotions and formulate coherent thoughts because I’m right there with you.

But that’s no excuse to be silent.

If you’re reading this article, if you’ve watched the documentary, as long as you haven’t been living under a rock, then you’re aware. Yes, these white supremacists all gathered together, but don’t be fooled, they exist everywhere. Now that we’re all aware of the extent of this normalization, it’s on all of us to call out this bigotry when we see it, and be a voice in the best way we can be. Whether that means going to rallies, or calling out a racist comment, don’t be afraid and do it. But I cannot stress enough that we are all responsible here.

Being silent is just as bad as being a supremacist. Stay strong, stay vocal, and stay aware.

Image credit:
Cover photo: (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Thumbnail: (Zach Roberts/NurPhoto/Getty Images)