This has become my best time for thinking as of recently, when the hands have struck past twelve and the world is somewhat quiet, everyone dreaming in bed. It’s around this time that I can’t seem to turn my brain off. It’s consumed with continuous worry that floods in constantly every day; information, ideas, notions that are old and new. The most major being that Donald Trump was elected president. I don’t hesitate in saying that the statement above keeps me up at night. I’m not even American and yet every night I slip into dreamless sleep around 3 AM thinking of a world that is becoming fueled by fear and hatred and ignorance.
I think the most confusing emotion is in fact confusion itself; the unutterable bewilderment that even now, writing this, I find hard to put into words. And it’s not the fact that Trump himself was elected. It’s the fact that hate won. That fear won. That we voted for ideals against the LGBTQ + community, the people of colour, Muslims, and women. WOMEN. American people voted against half of its population. I mean, I saw images of women holding ‘women support trump’ signs and I felt so sick inside. Does any of this make sense to you? Because it doesn’t really compute with me. And the more I lie in bed thinking about this the more I begin to wonder how our world could come to this. When did we decide that if you were a rich, white male you were superior to every other individual person that lives on this earth? That you were superior to people who are culturally diverse, ethnically diverse, sexually diverse, and ideologically diverse? And here’s the thing. People are like this without even a single conscious realisation or thought. It’s just how we are as human; different, but when it boils down to it, the same in every way. We want the same things – happiness, security, safety, love. But, try in vain, all this thinking ever brings me to is a larger expanse of questions that I could never answer, for I don’t know why they need to be asked in the first place. It’s like my brain is made up of many colourful circles and as I think and think and think, every circle begins to intertwine in all different directions. Until all I end up with is a giant, stringy knot of colourful thought. And for the life of me I could never find the start or end – the trails of thought are endless.
But, what has been coming to the forefront of my brain is that we never seem to ask questions. Our world favors a certain majority and yet we never think to ask why. I’ve been asking why, and, to even further the confusion, I’ve been asking why I’m asking why. Why do we let our world do this? Why should we have to ask why white people were (and to a certain extent are), considered superior to people of colour? Why did the Japanese feel they were superior to China when they invaded in 1931? Why did Hitler feel he had the authority to place a whole race in concentration camps during WW2? The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 and yet instead of us moving forward and continuing to better this, it feels like we’re going backwards. It especially doesn’t make sense to me seeing that our world is made up of 195 culturally rich countries. I mean, it’s obvious that Trump clearly favors and appeals to middle class, wealthy, educated white Americans. And before anyone gets the wrong idea, I just want to be clear that in no way am I trying to target anyone, but Trump is definitely a catalyst that fuels this racist ideology in many people. As shown in the voting polls a startling 58% of white votes went to Trump, with 69% of the population who voted being white. That’s some seriously scary statistics considering that Trump’s promises all undermined values of people who are not white and often threatens minorities.
It’s interesting for me to think about because I’m so lucky (although I think it’s unfair that I get to call myself lucky), to have grown up in New Zealand, a country which is so accepting and culturally diverse. As an example, I was in the car with my mum the other day and she turned to me while we sat in traffic and said, “I found out that New Windsor Primary (the primary school I went to as a child in NZ and the school my mum works at) is the most culturally diverse primary in Auckland. Which really must mean one of the most culturally diverse primaries in New Zealand. I remember when people used to ask me what New Windsor was like for you kids and I would say, well it’s not the best academically but I always loved how surrounded you were by different cultures and ethnicities.” In mere words I cannot describe how grateful I am for this beginning. I was brought up in an environment where it was widely accepted that people came from different places and that was something not to be afraid of, or to hate, but to be celebrated. Therefore, I have never once thought anything about people being different to me just because our skin colour may be different. I only see people as human.
Above all this, I’m trying extremely hard to be open to the opinion and viewpoints of other people, but it is really, really hard. I’m struggling. I cannot bring myself to agree with someone who believes we should place the blame on a whole race. I cannot bring myself to agree with someone who is willing to turn their fear into hatred. I cannot bring myself to agree with people who are not even willing to talk, to understand, to listen. Racism, despite what many have to say about it, is still alive and here in our society. And it shouldn’t be. I cannot stress or emphasize enough that it shouldn’t be. However, I think that Trump’s election is the escalation of it all. This is an amalgamation of a building problem that is beginning to infest our world. I can’t tell you, if you’re American (or even if you’re not and you’re afraid), that everything is going to be okay because that’s the thing, it’s not. Trump is a symbol of a problem so much bigger than just America and this problem has finally come to the forefront of our social-media infested lives. It proves finally that there is a problem, especially to those who refuse to believe that racism is still living among us. Racism is a serious problem and Trump is proof that it’s time we stand together and change it. It is up to us to take matters into our hands because as the youth we are literally the future of this world. We have a voice and I believe we have a responsibility to use it. America is a super power – this affects everyone.
One of my favourite quotes from Obama is from his election campaign in 2008 when he said, “In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope”, and I think that’s true and could not be truer now. In the time we are living I don’t think it is naïve or innocent to believe that we always have hope. It is what will get us through. Even if hope may seem far away in a distant field of green grass and daisies it is always there and never false. It is real. We have to reach out for it and run like we’ve never run before because I think it’s time we caught it. Fear will not drive us to be better. It inhibits us. Fear is a brick wall. There is a lot of fear in our world at the moment and to compensate this we should not be spreading and fueling this fear with hatred. We should be spreading love and a whole lot of it. The blame game is not going to work anymore and so we shouldn’t stand for it. We need to band together and start listening to each other, start conversations and above all rebel, with a cause and a whole lot of love.
And above all, stay compassionate, loving and open.
Love always, Brecon Xx
P.S: Here are a few links to videos and channels on YouTube that I have been watching. If you want to further your knowledge on other people’s viewpoints and ideas surrounding this then have a watch. The Daily Show is incredibly good.