2019 DIVERSITY & THOUGHT / NOT RACIST

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The purpose of ‘Diversity & Thought’ is to encourage inquiry and critical thinking. The individuals pictured have suffered some sort of physical or verbal attack, emotional abuse, and/or discrimination for not just how they vote, but for believing in a message that infuriates many— “Make America Great Again.” 

 

My graduate program at Brandeis University was, to say the least, life changing. I was ostracized by my peers for not agreeing with them politically 100%, (and that’s that I voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Primaries). With an invitation to discuss the candidates with the Director of my program, I watched him bawl uncontrollably at the thought of Donald Trump winning the elections. It was a revelation of sorts. The rhetoric was strong and influential. If he’d win— ‘it’d be the end of a free society and our nation would become a dictatorship ruled by white supremacy.’

 

This was and continues to be a powerful rhetoric. Many would argue that the President’s comments and actions have strong implications of racism. Maybe.

But this piece isn’t about Trump or politics. It is about inadvertent racism, politically charged discrimination, and a new kind of bigotry. It is about accountability. See, it’s easy to judge and label a white skinned person who wears a MAGA hat as an ‘underlying racist,’ as our universities and media encourage. But what about the Black American who wears a MAGA hat? The Latino? The ‘mixed race’ New Yorker? The problem seems to be that certain individuals want to abolish racism so much that their fears unintentionally produce it. Paulo Freire mentioned something along these lines... As a result, the term ‘coexistence’ has taken on a completely new, but troubling meaning— “one can only coexist if he or she thinks like ‘us’, believes like ‘us’, votes like ‘us’” 

 

But this is not coexistence. 

 

As a society, we have come a long way in learning to accept those who are different than us, so how are attacks against persons who believe in something different (regardless of their ethnicity, race, sex, and religion) justified?

 

I invite you to look closely and really ask yourself “are these actions warranted?” 

“Is this coexistence?”

 

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