I wore a Trump hat around Rutgers for a week
One girl threatened to ‘shit on my face’ if I didn’t take it off
When I bought my Trump hat to campus over the summer, I knew it was controversial to wear it in public; it has become equivalent to tattooing a swastika on your forehead. Nevertheless, I was curious how Trump supporters would be treated on a liberal college campus, so when I decided to wear it in public for a week around Rutgers I knew the reception would be less than friendly.
The first and second days I wore my MAGA hat around campus were pretty uneventful. They were weekdays, so everybody was sober enough to restrain their hatred. Still, people expressed their disapproval, but it was all passive aggressive. I remember sitting on a bus with my hat flipped backwards, and two girls were talking right behind me about how wearing this hat was a social fallacy.
“You’re 19-20 years old, and you don’t know that!” One of the more aggressive girls said to her friend, “Why would you even wear this hat in public?!” She asked, not to my face, but to her friend, as if I needed her approval to deem what was acceptable behavior.
Another noticeable change came from my good friend’s roommate. Upon seeing my hat, she decided to stop talking to me and ignore my presence whenever I was in the room. The passive aggressive reactions were to be expected. However, the most exciting experiences my Trump hat brought me were on Friday and Saturday because, as we all know, drunk words are sober thoughts. These sober thoughts were very public, and a little harsh (this is a severe understatement).
On Friday, I took the bus from Cook to College Avenue; keep in mind this was in the late evening, so everybody was at least a bit tipsy by this point. A girl walked down the bus stairs to get an inch from my face, asking me to throw my hat off the bus. When I refused, she threatened, “I WILL SHIT ON YOUR FACE.” I asked her if I could take a picture of her for this article, but she gave me the finger.
Saturday was the Michigan football game, and this was really interesting as everyone was wasted by three in the afternoon. When walking to the bus to get to the stadium, a group of guys behind me started chanting, “Fuck Trump!” Repeatedly.
When I was riding the bus back from the stadium, I overheard a student say, “yo fuck Donald Trump.” This caused an alliance of three men, all freshman, bonding over their hatred for Donald Trump. They claimed that they, “needed to educate people,” and everybody on the bus smirked at me.
After the weekend, I expected the same passive aggression. After the whole controversy with Trump’s statement about women, I noticed that girls were now glaring at me and shaking their heads in disapproval. Tuesday, I walked down George Street to College Ave, and because this street is intertwined with the New Brunswick community and not just students, their verbal aggression was the only time I truly feared for my safety. Keep in mind, this was late in the day after class, and I just wanted to take a walk and get some sushi, so when a woman snatched my hat, I had no regrets when I snatched it back. She yelled at me when I was walking away, but nothing more. Yesterday, when I went to the College Ave gym, a 6 ft. tall man with a strong build yelled in my face, “I FEEL SORRY FOR EVERYONE THAT HAS TO SEE YOU.”
The reactions weren’t 100 percent negative, however. Despite being at a liberal school, there are Trump supporters here, and they were all happy with seeing a fellow MAGA hat wearing student. I’ve had many people, mostly men, high five me and congratulate me for wearing this hat in public. A lot of people came up to me and said they were afraid to show support for Trump, and that I was brave, careless or a little bit of both.
Two people from the Cook Campus gym gave me a thumbs up and said that Trump was amazing. A kid on the bus gave me a quick thumbs up so no one would know his support. During my ride back from the Michigan game, two girls told me, “I love your hat.” They were from one of the Rutgers Republicans clubs, and they invited me to their weekly meetings. Yesterday, a man from the Students for Trump group invited me to join, and we had a brief conversation about our flawed immigration policy.
I honestly didn’t think that there would be ANY good reactions, and in the midst of all this disapproval, I felt relief when I met the few friendly people who gave me positive feedback. I’ve always believed this and this experience solidified it: no matter what your beliefs are, don’t be afraid to support them or vocalize them. If you live in a society where you can’t express yourself, everybody loses.
The article does not reflect the political views of any Tab writers.