The Deplorables Among Us

Fabrizio Herrera, Class of 2021

In a “Trumpist” era, minorities all across the United States find themselves in danger of a widespread xenophobic sentiment. This is a sentiment which happens to be directed toward them. We often hear of the racist behavior committed by Trump supporters across the U.S., yet one would never expect to find such behavior in a prestigious liberal arts college like Colgate University. Sadly that expectation might be too optimistic.  

Within my first few weeks here at Colgate as a first-year, I have crossed paths with multiple Trump supporters. Of these supporters, one of them happened to be a bit more “deplorable” than the others. This avid Trump supporter was not afraid of sharing his beliefs. In a one-on-one conversation that quickly became the most uncomfortable moment of my life, I finally learned what it felt like to be explicitly discriminated against in an almost-jovial tone. Xenophobic comments like “Colgate should’ve remained all white” came flying at me. This avid Trump supporter went so far as to say that the acceptance of my “people” on this campus was an “injustice.” An injustice in the sense that my “people” were incomparable to that of white people. That we would always fight the unwinnable fight. That by being here, my time was wasted, because I would never be able to reach their level. 

As somebody that happens to be fully Latin American, born and raised in Costa Rica, this came off as a culture shock. Never in my life had I met anyone that had such ignorant beliefs, coupled with such belligerent confidence. The avid Trump supporter then went on to more fictional ramblings such as the supposed infusion of estrogen into America’s water supply, to make men across America more effeminate. It almost felt like I was listening to Alex Jones from “Infowars.”

The level of discrimination within that short conversation was almost exceptional in its own way. Yet one thing was clear: this was one of the effects of a Donald Trump presidency. Trump brings out the worst in people. Trump made it so that racists across America are no longer afraid of stating what’s on their mind, regardless of political correctness. Political correctness cannot exist in a society where the president’s supporters are happy to go strolling around Virginia chanting “Jews will not replace us.” 

Donald Trump has found a way to jeopardize the life of every single American who isn’t the right skin color. One can now expect the safety, comfort and well being of every single person of color to go out the window. Now more than ever, we find ourselves in a position where we have to be involved – regardless of race or color – to combat belligerent xenophobia. Conversations like the one I was in should not be allowed to take place. Instead of shying away from this issue, we have to deal with it head on. We tend to underplay the importance and impact that this issue can have. Yet here I stand confronted by it, at my own university. Racist ideologies like that do not belong in an institution of such prestige.

Contact Fabrizio Herrera at [email protected].