My fellow Americans, I am speaking to you because there is growing bigotry against the citizens who live south of the United States border, and as an Afro Latina, every day this “crisis” makes me ashamed to be an American.
President Trump’s speech from his cozy Oval Office begins with addressing the “thousands of illegal immigrants” that he claims are at our border. It seems that the President does not understand the term “thousands,” since these numbers are actually in the hundreds according to his own administration. However, this is not the only “fake news” fact that the President boasted about to his people on Jan. 8. The president asserted from the White House that the U.S. proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants, but as a society we see immigrants being discriminated against and enclosed in camps every day—as if they are stray dogs and we are animal control. It is as if racism will never be abolished; it will only be redesigned to discriminate against other minorities whenever a leader will it.
When Deborah Kibazo, now a junior, first came to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she tried to embrace the social life. Like many students, she tried out the fraternity parties. But Kibazo, who is black, said she was often turned away from the doors.
“I was told it was full and as I was walking away just to see them let some non-people of color into the building,” Kibazo said. “My friends and I could tell that it wasn’t full.”
Kibazo added that when speaking with other black students on campus, she realized that she wasn’t alone. Many students of color had felt both unwelcomed and uncomfortable at parties on a campus that is predominantly white. The students of color that had attended said they found little in common with the other partygoers to enjoy the party.
As a student of color at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it’s never surprising to be asked: “what are you?” Full disclosure: I am half-Peruvian and half unknown Caucasian. Despite being an annoying question, I usually answer it because I can tell it’s well-intended or I’ll say something like “I am.. a person?” But in sophomore year, one random white guy walked up to me at a party and asked me that question. Internally rolling my eyes, I told him.
What he said next made me…very uncomfortable: “Wow, that’s so cool. White people are like a parasite to the earth and you being mixed is helping further the human race.”
As a senior in high school, I’d been working to complete an early decision application to New York University. Applying as a Political Science major, It was essential to have a recommendation from my Political Science teacher and after she’d agreed to write it, I had hoped that she would be responsible about it irrespective of the fact how much she disliked me because of my political opinions. She was also the chief advisor for the Model UN Society of which I’d been an active member and had held very large contributions with the work I had done for them.
On Tuesday November 6th, of 2018 I plan to exercise my right as an American citizen and vote in the general election. I’m particularly excited to vote on question three. Let’s first look at what this Massachusetts ballot question is asking. Question three asks voters if they want to uphold a law that prohibits discrimination in public places based on gender identity. I will vote yes, meaning I will vote to uphold Senate Bill 2407, which passed in 2016, in the hopes to continue prohibiting discrimination.