We asked UMich students how their lives have changed since Trump was elected
‘What we used to be afraid of before is now amplified, we never know who is safe and who to trust’
November 8th 2016. For me, a flashbulb memory. I had just turned eighteen less than a month ago, and carried with me new ideas and perspectives as to how I would leave my mark on the world. I had just started paying closer attention to the political climate, and realized that the first, and perhaps most important way I could achieve this, is through voting.
As many would agree with me, this most recent presidential election was more than just choosing a candidate to govern us, it was about choosing a philosophy and ideology by which the United States of America would be identified by. One built on the basis of racism, prejudice, and misogyny, vs one built on the basis of progressivism, optimism, and opportunity. Neither were perfect, but one represented the views of the majority of the population. To the surprise of many, the other side won.
— Jacob Caplan (@Mr_CaplanPD) February 8, 2017
I distinctly remember crowded in south quad, watching the election results with my closest friends. Our arms were linked, hearts were heavy, and eyes were filled with tears. When Michigan was declared red, everything flooded over; tears, thoughts, rants, and emotions.
Dejected, I walked back to my east quad apartment and realized that my impact would have to lie elsewhere. As a colored woman on this campus, my impact would have to be in ensuring that my community feels loved, wanted, and protected.
Reminiscing on election day with me are five students at the University of Michigan, who have shared their thoughts about how the results of the election still impact our campus and community as a whole.
Sunanda, a sophomore studying pre medicine, discusses how there has been a marked increase in threats to diversity. “There have been so many posts about white supremacy, and as a result more people have been voicing their opinions against white supremacy,” Sunanda said.
Similarly, Sean, a sophomore studying computer science shared that “there are stronger fears and higher tensions. Violence has dramatically increased on both ends of the spectrum, and bystanders on both sides are getting hurt," he said. "Opinions have never been louder than before.”
On campus in recent times, we have definitely noticed riots and protests both voicing opposing opinions. From hanging up racist posters to kneeling on The Diag for nearly 24 hours, different people have tried different ways to express how they feel. With these protests, however, comes a newly defined sense of fear.
“Scary has a new meaning," said Vivian, a sophomore studying nursing. "What we used to be afraid of before is now amplified, we never know who is safe and who to trust.”
More and more people are starting to realize their identities as well. What was once subconscious and normal is now brought to the surface, and suddenly something that people think about more and more.
Saira, a sophomore studying pre medicine told me how her Muslim identity is becoming and more and more conscious than it ever was before. “It’s the first thing people notice about me, and they act like it’s a bad thing,” she said.
Without a doubt, the 2016 presidential election is one that will never be forgotten. It has brought forward the racism we have always thought was hidden or nonexistent, and has been the catalyst for many violent events on campus and all over the world.