If you see something, say something
Dr. Christina Greer | 11/24/2016, midnight
Even though the election was just a few weeks ago, it seems like DJT has been our president-elect for decades. Reports of discrimination, intimidation and downright racism have been on the rise since Nov. 8. Every day I read the news there are new reports of swastikas painted on schools, homes and playgrounds. There are increased accounts of Muslim-Americans being threatened and having their hijabs forcibly removed. The use of the “N-word” has increasingly been hurled at men, women and children. Chants of “build the wall” have been used to taunt Mexican-American and Latino students across the country in elementary and middle schools. And these are just the reported accounts. Each time I read these stories, I wonder what bystanders did when they saw these acts of physical, emotional and psychological violence being inflicted on their fellow Americans. As we try to collect ourselves in a Trump America, we must stay vigilant and say something if we see something. I know that is a difficult request for some—to stand up and say something when witnessing acts of discrimination. In some cases, we may be putting ourselves in danger. However, if we act collectively, we can defeat this emboldened wave of racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT behavior. My heart has been heavy listening to the stories of my students of color who have had a turbulent past few weeks as they have encountered “minor” acts of discrimination postelection. None of these acts warranted a call to the police and are thus unreported. Therefore, if we think about the number of reported incidents, we can presume there are hundreds if not thousands more of unreported incidents of intimidation and full-on attacks. If you have ever experienced discrimination, racism or fear for your physical safety, you know those incidents stay with you for quite some time and don’t go away at the end of the day. Therefore, it is up to all of us to become one another’s neighbors, to keep our eyes open and to realize that we are one collective fighting against this type of injustice. If we fight alone or try to stand up in the face of these attacks alone, the road is much more difficult and the challenges seem insurmountable. However, if we stand together, we can hopefully combat this new awakened and emboldened race-baiting American reality. All is not lost. I have seen so many groups coming together to strategize, organize and share resources since the election concluded. These times seem dark right now, but we must remember to lean on our brothers and sisters at these moments and serve as eyes and ears for one another, now and for the turbulent years to come.
Christina Greer is an associate professor of political science at Fordham University. You can find her on Twitter at @Dr_CMGreer.