Tolerance must prevail in Post-Trump America

Khadija Saifullah

Last December, Donald Trump called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States. This left me wondering why open racism is not a deal breaker. Although not all of his supporters may support the ban, voting for him insinuates a support of open xenophobia.

The University is home to seven Muslim organizations and a large population of Muslim students. As I watched Trump become the president-elect on Tuesday night, all I was thinking about was how scared I was to step outside tomorrow with a head scarf, knowing well that there were people who firmly believe that I don’t deserve to live in the country that I’ve lived in my entire life.

The past year has been a difficult one for minorities, including myself. After Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric in the presidential election, racists have become emboldened. Having heard stories almost every two weeks about another girl in a hijab being verbally harassed on Guadalupe Street or downtown, every time I walk outside I wonder if today will be my turn. The other night a police officer stopped my friend and asked her if she was harassed for her hijab that day because apparently another girl with a purple head scarf filed a complaint about someone threatening to shoot her. The fear I wear on my sleeve every day is also shared by 3.3 million Muslim Americans — all of whom Trump plans to surveil, monitor and even deport to “Make America Great Again.”

In an environment where we’re seen as terrorists and troublemakers, where bigotry against our community is tolerated by everyone in charge, where racism is rampant, where women are attacked physically and institutionally for their scarf, where there is surveillance everywhere, where we are under the eyes of more task forces and committees than I can keep track of, where I am always seen as an “oppressed Muslim woman” before I’m seen as a human being, I am simply exhausted. We have spent more of our lives in the post-9/11 era than we have spent outside it — for the majority of my life, this has been reality.

In the midst of the post-election racism that marginalized groups faced, Nueces Mosque in West Campus was met with warmth and support from its neighbors. Flowers were left on its front porch with a note saying, “We are thankful to have you as part of our vibrant community.” On Friday afternoon, a group of demonstrators showed up in front of the mosque saying they’ll do whatever it takes to protect their fellow Americans. Others have expressed concern and offered to stay around during the Friday prayer to watch for xenophobes and escort people home.

Regardless of whether Trump supporters actively supported all of his causes, the majority of which are aimed at making America white again, a vote for Trump is a crime against humanity. His rhetoric has undoubtedly caused a rise in anti-minority and anti-Muslim hate crimes. The tolerance and support of his hateful rhetoric is almost as bad as practicing that hate directly. Don’t expect to be treated respectfully if you don’t respect the lives of minorities, which is what you expressed when you cast your vote for him.

For those who are privileged enough to know that Trump’s racism won’t be directed toward themselves, it is up to you to use your privilege to protect your marginalized friends around you. If you see an injustice happen in front of you, don’t just watch, intervene.

Saifullah is a neuroscience junior from Richardson. Follow her on twitter @coolstorysunao