Muslim Americans: you have every right to feel worried about what the future may hold for you. Trump’s campaign gained momentum through picking on people who don’t fit the White American ideal. Now that he is destined for the White House, no one really knows what will happen in regards to the deportation of undocumented people as well as to the Muslim minority. Let’s not forget this is the same guy who wanted to start an online registry for Muslim Americans.
In the days following Trump’s election to the presidency, hate crimes have been increasing all over the country. It’s as if Trump being put into office has suddenly given people a mandate to be xenophobic assholes. The following happened on November 11, 2016.
A man approached a University of Michigan student and demanded she remove her hijab or else he would set her on fire with a lighter. The student complied. The university immediately called the off-campus incident a hate crime and Ann Arbor police say they are investigating the incident. The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the “alleged attack is just the latest anti-Muslim incident reported since the election of Donald Trump as president.”
Despite these unfounded criminal acts, some Muslims are hopeful that the American Democratic process that put Trump in office will protect them. Whether or not it will, I guess we will have to see.
“In my heart, I believe there is a system, a law in the United States [that will protect minorities],” Sifan, 52, told The Daily Beast. “I tell my kids, the CIA and the FBI, since [Trump] becomes the president, they start giving him reports and directions.” Sifan said he is hopeful that the new information from intelligence agencies will restrain Trump’s rhetoric and help him focus on the real issues. “Because [the campaign was] politics. Now, he is the president.”
Maybe we should give Trump’s establishment a chance. Maybe, just maybe, there is a sliver of hope that is some kind of closeted progressive that will usher our nation into a time of unprecedented growth and progress. Or, maybe not. However, what is clear is that Trump is somewhat malleable and is capable of changing his mind on things, as we have recently seen in his views on gay marriage. When asked about the possible over-turning of landmark LGBT marriage legalization, Trump said the following:
“These cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled. And I’m — I’m fine with that,” he said.
Maybe this shows that his view on Muslims and Latino-Americans can change too. After being asked about what he could say about the reports of his supporters harassing Latinos and Muslims, Trump said this:
“I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it — if it helps,” Trump said, turning from Stahl to another camera positioned inside his Trump Tower apartment. “I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”2
It’s clear that Trump’s rhetoric has a palpable effect on the actions of his supporters. The President-Elect has an opportunity to showcase that he is capable of compassion and empathy, no matter how much of a sociopath he may be. Though the past week or so has shown the uglier sides of America, there is potential for Trump to change this. If he advocates for tolerance of those that are not White Christians, maybe his fan base can come to the realization that this is the twenty first century and we shouldn’t be threatening to set fire to people’s public displays of their own religions.