I spent election night in New York. As we took a break for outlets and wifi in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, we checked the election results as they rolled in. A man who seemed to be on the phone was using an outlet that we shared with him. We started talking about the results amongst ourselves, growing slightly concerned. Suddenly the man erupted in an aggressive rant, spouting off racist rhetoric, including that against "orientals who swam over on boats and don't even belong here", "Hispanics, who don't even have papers to be here", and denouncing those from the Caribbean as "fake blacks". I'm pretty sheltered, though I am aware of the racial discourse and divide in our current world. Thanks to my bubble, I had never experienced any personally-directed racist remarks to this degree. But this man also went on and on about how the young people voting yesterday (he noted how he was 31) weren't alive for "all the bad shit" and how Trump was gonna get rid of everyone who didn't belong here. It was then I feared for my life for the first time, something many feel on a daily basis, something I was always aware my privilege shielded me from. And I've never felt so more for them than that moment.
Was it to my benefit because I was sitting there and he was standing? Unclear. Would he have been racist without Trump getting elected? Probably. But the problem is that the ramifications of Trump being elected include the fact that his supporters are basically being told this is okay. They are validated. It doesn't matter if Trump can't actually enact all the horrible things he promised because his supporters are still riled up and may take matters into their own hands. Though we cannot and should not assume all of his supporters are racists, the possibility of violence against minorities, women, and LGBT+ individuals escalating is too real.
My friend told me today "you're so lucky you're a model minority", and I've always felt this privilege, always been aware of it, but today I felt so saddened to hear that out loud. What a world we live in. Where one man can incite others and make so many people feel afraid and small.