“I see and hear and feel all these things and wonder how adults around me can provide such an environment, filled with so much hate.”
There are so many people in this country who are feeling hopeless and disgusted and terrified about Donald Trump winning the presidency. But as horrible as we adults are feeling, it’s important to recognize that American kids are feeling it too.
I just received this amazing and insightful letter from a young girl named Regan. Regan wants this country to know that the youth are paying attention. They are learning. And they are internalizing everything they’ve seen and heard during this very ugly presidential election.
But what are we teaching them? What has this election taught them? By electing Donald Trump after a campaign full of bigotry, bullying, and hate, we are definitely teaching them…..but we are teaching them wrong.
This intelligent young lady breaks it down for us perfectly.
“As America comes to realize the shocking reality that will change the course of the country for the next four years, protests and floods of unsatisfied civilians fill the streets with chants, screams, and violent uproars. And I stand here, in the midst of it all.
I see the tears that stain my face continue to translate to those around me. The more I realize the minorities around me have been utterly destroyed by this election, the more I resent my privilege.
It disgusts me to know that people like me voted for someone so nauseated with multiculturalism only because they couldn’t live with the idea of giving back without repercussion (you can Facebook that charity drive, but not your payment for Obamacare); or that they were able to overlook all this hatred at all. We all knew that not everyone would give a second glance to the minorities of this country, and this election proved that. Women, non-Christians, POC, and LGBTQ+ civilians were completely ignored for the financial aid of their neighbors.
Can you imagine what that does to someone? What that feels like? Because I do.
I see the tweets of older men saying they’re now entitled to grope any woman they please because Trump won (am I next?). I see white supremacy: the n word sprayed on the windshield of an innocent black man, Muslims pulled to the ground by their hijabs in school, swastikas littering bathrooms next to the words “Make America White Again”- a phrase that has swept the nation. I see pictures of black mannequins being hanged outside houses with Trump signs .Worst yet, I see the pain worn on my friend-who relied on Obamacare for her anti-depressants.”
Regan continued with her own personal experience.
“I hear my coach tell me as I cry that I’ll be okay because “Obama was the worst president we ever had, and it didn’t affect me”. At the same time I hear others at our rink-people that I once saw as mentors- rejoice because they’re ready for change, a change that I am encouraged to take part in. I don’t hear anyone mention that this change excludes many from equality; instead I hear myself cry, and I exit the rink early.
When I get to school, I learn not math, but racial slurs. I listen and learn; I learn promotions of the KKK, I learn that I am an object because of how I was born, and I learn to keep my mouth shut and stay in the kitchen. I hear my government teacher say gay marriage shouldn’t be legalized. And when I go to argue, I am cut off because youth equals uneducated. I learn that my opinion doesn’t matter because of who I am.
And I feel so greatly depressed. Not for myself, but for the minorities of this country. A Muslim hugged me and said “I thought no one cared, but you care”. To feel like no one cares about you, and have half the country vote in a way that favors that statement, I can picture no one and no thing revising that pain.
Tears fall from a youth that is told to enjoy this time and freedom of life, tears that cannot be taken back and time that cannot be reversed. The enjoyment of the childhood of minorities had deprecated by four years.
I see and hear and feel all these things and wonder how adults around me can provide such an environment, filled with so much hate, a second civil war brooding on the emotions of a nation.
Then I realized, they don’t care.
Because to many, this hate is not only okay, but acceptable and encouraged. To many leaders and teachers (not only at school but around influencees like myself) this hate is understandable and credited because when you’re privileged, equality feels like oppression. Or, it doesn’t exist, because in America we like to hide our problems under the bed until they’ve disappeared.
But to those that are raising the future generation in any way, whether you are a parent or a bus driver, let me tell you that you have an impact much greater than I wish to admit.”
“I will remember the hatred spewed from the providers around me, I will remember our President-Elect mocking a disabled man and saying he was entitled to treat woman the way he did because he was a celebrity (what is he entitled to now that he’s our next president?), and I will remember the tears that poured from my eyes-both of fear and despair, and a new, rejuvenated power.
Worst of all, I will have to remember Hillary Clinton as an icon for feminism because of her campaign, not because of her presidency.
However, for the rest of my life I will remember what it finally meant to be a woman- strong, powerful, and most importantly, unstoppable.
And I ask the adults around me, if I can remember all of this, please remember one thing:
The future is watching, and we are learning, and we are unsatisfied and demoralized. But, because of this, we are strong.
Do not underestimate youth.”