I’m a Muslim American attending Southern Methodist University. My parents immigrated to this country from Pakistan, and my mom was, at a point, considered undocumented. I moved, with her and my sister, to the motherland for three years while she tried to get her Green Card in order. While we were there, my mom had to make multiple trips to the embassy in the capital (which require her to fly and purchase plane tickets), and she was never told what exactly she had to take with her.
The first time she went up, I made the trip with her, convinced that this was going to be an enjoyable little trip and that we’d come back with good news. However, upon arriving at the embassy, it was very clear that these people were not our friends. They spoke to my mother rudely, they told her she needed to be more responsible even though she only followed instructions, they used a translator to speak to her when she was confused even though she is a fluent speaker. It was dejecting, as an 8 or 9-year-old citizen of a country I thought was my home and the epitome of all things right with the world, to experience that level of disrespect, that level of rejection, for one of the few people on the planet you view to be infallible. This is not ignorance, this is hate, because it takes an “understanding” the government has adopted and funneled it into intentional action.
People make mistakes, but hate is not one of those mistakes. Hate is intentional- it is an attempt to let somebody know that you think they are lesser, or that they should feel that way, because some part of you is uncomfortable with the difference between you. Hate is what allows people like Donald J. Trump to be elected, it creates a system where bigotry is seen as acceptable in the face of other challenges people face. Safety is now an excuse for belittling others. Safety is now a tool to circumvent human agency. Safety is a manifestation of hate. Hey White America, next time you see an 8-year-old boy at the window with their mom, make sure you’re extra clear that you think their mom’s is a problem, that their origin is a curse, and that you have no hope of redeeming that understanding no matter how hard you try. Stop lying to me, or to us as a people, that the American dream is real for everyone.