Yes, many Trump voters are racist. But now that he’s the president-elect, we need to change the way we’re talking about this – this illness that has gripped such a huge chunk of the Western population. It started a while ago in many European nations, with the rise of extreme right parties. And now that America has legitimized xenophobia, more European nations may follow. I’m not overlooking the racism when I say that many of these people truly are anti-establishment. At least that is what they believe themselves to be. Many of them claim to not be racist – sure, many of them also don’t know what racism actually is – but maybe… just maybe… not all of them hates our guts?
I need to give myself the benefit of the doubt, because otherwise the world doesn’t make sense. Also, it’s easier to reason with someone who’s merely anti-establishment than with someone who hates me for the way I look or the religion I follow. We should, to the extent we can, always think good of others. We cannot give in to hatred, that is not the way to overcome this divide.
We need to talk to these people, we need to understand them as well as present ourselves to them. They need to know us individually, and not as a hateful mob. Also, many of these people are under-educated. So let us educate them. Let us be better than them. We can’t depend on third-parties, especially not the media, to do this. We need to roll up our sleeves and take control of our own representation.
It’s difficult for me to truly feel the fear that so many Americans belonging to minority groups are feeling today, because I’m not an American. I’ve been privileged enough to live in a tolerant country. Sure, we also feel the strong winds of right-wing populism, we also have a xenophobic party in parliament, but as an individual I have yet to be subjected to any direct racial attack. Alhamdulillah. It might only be a matter of time though. Which is why even I have to engage in the American dialogue. This is the struggle of millions of people belonging to minorities, who have made their home in the West. We need to cure it where it is, so that it doesn’t spread to other places. The cancer is not the Trump voters, the cancer is the hatred. The hatred is fluid, and has been let loose. It’s not contained in any single vessel, not even in a body of vessels. I don’t believe it.
Yes, it’s all gone wrong. I can’t say “it’s going to be okay”, because it probably won’t be. But I can say what I believe, which is that we all have the strength to fight this. Let this be the day we start making history.