There has been a great deal of unrest since the election. Within it, there has been an upsurge of xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic attacks. Swastikas drawn on public buildings. Hijabs torn from heads. Students of middle-eastern ancestry beaten. "White Pride" graffiti. A Ku Klux Klan celebratory parade.
I did not know that such hatred simmered beneath the surface of America. I have lead a naive, sheltered life.
Let's bring it closer to home:
The adult daughter of one Facebook friend, while out with friends, was physically assaulted by a man who proclaimed "It's official, I can grab it!" Another Facebook friend's daughter -- a young attorney, born in Kansas, with Hispanic ancestry -- was told by an aggressive man who would not leave her and her table of friends alone, "in four years you will be gone from this country." The mixed-race son of a third Facebook friend was called a nigger and beaten up at his elementary school.
Are my Offspring safe? They are half Hispanic, but on the whole, look Anglo. Does resembling me provide them with a measure of protection against xenophobia?
And is Offspring the First safe? It seems frightening to be a young woman right now, when our president-elect has effectively provided a stamp of approval for consequence-free assault. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything. Offspring the First is taking a self-defense class. Let us hope it will be enough.
We do not know who is a safe stranger, and who is not, any more -- for those who commit these crimes, look just like us.
When I go for a walk in the neighborhood, I sometimes pass by this house, with this banner hung on the front balcony:
The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the shed Blood of Patriots & Tyrants. - Thomas Jefferson
I do not know, for this homeowner, who is the Patriot and who is the Tyrant. I can only guess.
How do I protect those in danger?
(Why has the president-elect not spoken out against the violence?)
I wish I knew.
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