I’m Terrified Because I’m Brown

I haven’t written too much about politics because every type of article is already being written.

I did write a previous post about the tolerance for racism and hate that our president has.

I wanted to write this one based on how I’ve been feeling.

And to be honest, I’ve been scared. I’m an Asian Indian American who was born in Southern California and have lived here all my life. Not once in my 35 years on this planet have I been worried about how I was treated because of my ethnicity. I know that I’ve been lucky. I have family that has felt racism based on their skin color. I either have been oblivious or around so many different ethnicities that there hasn’t been room for that feeling of being judged.

I remember the election day and feeling like so much was riding on it. I could see all the way through it that racist people were given a pass for acting the way they wanted. I remember feeling terrified because I was worried about hate crimes occurring as soon as that election day was done.

And they did. It made me scared to leave my house. I have small kids and I don’t want to ever have to think that I’m putting their lives at risk. It’s sad to think that even with living in one of most the liberal and ethnically mixed areas in the country, I continue to worry about the type of people who don’t want those of us with a different skin color or religion here. I can’t even imagine what I would do if I didn’t live in an area like Southern California.

My family and I went out to dinner last week. I’m hyper aware of my surroundings in general but even more so than usual now. An older Caucasian man who was eating with his family kept looking over at my husband. I saw this and I couldn’t even imagine what he was thinking. I don’t believe that anything would have happened but the idea that someone didn’t want us to be there for no good reason did bother me. When the family finished, he got up and came over with his wife and told my husband that he was doing a great job handling our baby while trying to eat simultaneously and to enjoy the time because the kids grow up fast. It turns out that he was admiring our family.

It’s moments like these that remind me that as much as things have changed, nothing everything or everyone has. It reminds me that most people are still good people. It reminds me that there is still hope that this country will be a better place than it is right now.

But I’ll be honest. I’m terrified of how much we are going to have to deal with before we get to that place.

Politics

I’ve tried to avoid writing about politics because there is so much of it around us right now. Every other article is about politics and what is happening everywhere. I know that I usually need a break from it.

But I thought I’d dedicate one post about it.

Here is my basic opinion: I could have accepted anyone who eventually won the presidency regardless of their politics and where they stood on issues. But I can’t accept someone who won while inciting hate.

I can’t remember a time when a president won (and I’ve been able to vote in 6 elections as of today) where there were hate crimes during and after the campaign. I can’t ever remember being scared to leave the house during and after a campaign because people might be rude to me because I am Indian even though I was born in America.

I live in California which is maybe in the running for the most liberal state in the country. Yet, I still had these thoughts. I still worried about my kids and how they would be treated when we left the house.

This is what I am gauging the election results on. This is why I have trouble accepting the president. If he can’t make me feel safe in my own home, then why is he my leader?

There are plenty of issues with the new president. But, for me, the primary issue is that he encouraged people who harbored hate for others. He encouraged them to show their true colors and make those of us of a different ethnicity feel unwanted.

And that I can’t accept.