The 2016 Presidential Election: a lesson on privilege

The results are in. The President Elect of the United States is Donald Trump. I never imagined I would pen those words. How did we let him get all the way to the White House? But a more important question, what now? Today, we check our privilege and support those who will be adversely affected by the turn out of this election.

On multiple occasions today, I had to explain to men where many people’s fears lie with this election result. I had to explain to some why although they are disheartened by the results, they are not directly affected. They will continue to live their comfortable lives of a privilege, a right that was afforded to them by being white, cis, able bodied, heterosexual, and male. There has not been a time in this country that their rights were never threatened on being taken away.

What is privilege? Privilege is knowing that no matter what the outcome is in the election, you will be OK. Your life will go on as normal. You will return to your job. You will not face discrimination. Privilege is born to white, male, cisgender, able bodied, heterosexual males that aren’t a part of a religious minority.

Privilege is knowing that you can frivolously vote or not vote at all in a presidential election.  You can write in the name of a dead gorilla or file a protest vote and it will have no effect on you in January. But women, people of color, religious minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT+ people, and transgender people will have to face these consequences. These minority groups will be affected the most by the negative shift in our country. Privilege is not caring.

Among the men I will tirelessly have to explain this concept to, there will be people around the world that we will have to explain this monstrosity to, such as vulnerable populations. The US has let them down. The US will hide in shame from what has taken place.

How am I going to explain to the young girls that I work with that although they came over to the US and escaped the threat of violence, rape, and sex trafficking in their home countries, it will be likely that they are going to be deported? How can I tell them this when for their whole lives they have imagined an idealistic America, where they can learn English and get an education? How do I tell a little boy who was molested that he and his family no longer have a path to citizenship, although they were promised one by the country the injustice took place in? None of these disappointments have come to fruition just yet, but this what Trump promised.

This is not my burden to bare, because I voted on the right side of history. But I will not stand by silently while injustices take place. Yesterday, I was in shock. Today, I mourn. Tomorrow, I mobilize. I will help protect those labeled as the “other” to make sure that our country doesn’t regress.

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