The day Trump announced he was running for President and promised to Build A Wall the same day he called Mexicans (read Latinos/Hispanics) rapists, I was deeply offended and never expected him to become the Presidential candidate, let alone our President.
As a Latina born in the United States to immigrant parent. I grew up being reminded of my roots. I am Salvadorean before I am American. There are people in my family who don’t agree with this way of thinking. You are American or you’re nothing. I have a Mexican/Salvadorean American cousin who identifies only as American. I have no qualms with how he chooses to identify, but it is how others identify him that scares me.
The political and social environment POC find themselves in now, small details like whether or not you were born in America, whether or not you are a citizen, whether or not you voted for Trump won’t matter. Trump’s rhetoric has associated our brown skin as: rapists, criminals, and drug dealers. Claiming that you are American, that you are a citizen, that you voted for Trump won’t save you. Your brown skin tells a story of immigration no matter how many generations you are from the first seed that has led to your branch. I won’t matter if you can’t speak Spanish, if you’ve never been to your country of origin. Your skin says otherwise. You skin, although just skin is now a sign for those with hate in their heart to racially profile you and discriminate against you.
Trumps rhetoric is dangerous and hurtful. He has planted a dangerous seed into the minds of many. To claim that the Latino/Hispanic community is full of “bad hombres” that need to be kept out will grow to be incredibly dangerous if we, as a community, don’t do anything to combat this rhetoric. His rhetoric is reminiscent of Nixon’s “War on Drugs” which went on to influence the way 4 presidents dealt with “criminals”. The mass incarceration of black men, can be traced back to the moment Nixon uttered these 3 words. Trump is attempting to recreate history. He is planning on deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families. These families will be sent to Deportation Centers, that work very similar to prisons. His rhetoric is demonizing and justifies the profiling of Hispanic/Latino men and women. No we are not all rapists, criminals, or drug dealers, but the media’s representation of us can very well lead to the acceptance of these nouns.
I am a woman. I am a Latina. I am a college student. I am Salvadorean. I am American.
I am terrified of the next 4 years. I am certain that the Latino population will see a rise in police and public distrust. I know it, because it is already happening across the country. I know it, and I don’t know how to stop it. I know how many in my community are hard-working and family-oriented. I know this, but not everyone does. The uncertainty of my family here through work visas, family members applying for their citizenship, DACA recipients scares me. The uncertainty scares me. I am a Latina, and I will use my voice to stand with family and friends whose voices need amplifying. I am here for each and every single one of you. I am here to provide you with the love and comfort you need. I am here.