In my previous post, I mentioned that a Trump election might not affect me that much personally, but I’m starting to rethink that. For starters, while the majority of my family is Hindu, I do have some Muslim family members.
But the first report I’ve heard of hostility towards someone in my family actually came from my mom, a Hindu. She mentioned that when she’s out, people look at her with anger. She realized it’s because they think she’s a Muslim, so she now often wears tikka when she goes out.
I hope, for her safety, that it works. It’s been my experience that most people don’t know the difference between a Muslim, a Hindu, or a Sikh. They also don’t really care if you’re from India, Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, or even Latin America. Very simply, for a certain portion of the United States, all brown people look alike.
Of course, my Muslim family members don’t have the option of trying to wear some sort of protective marker.
The Muslim Registry and Trump’s Racist Advisors
In case you weren’t aware, Trump wants to force Muslims in the United States to register in a database. Trump talked about a Muslim registry during his campaign a year ago. While he backpedaled on that issue during his campaign, there are troubling signs that he may move forward with it after all. For one thing, the United States previously had a Muslim registry called NSEER, during the 2nd Bush administration. Some supporters of registering Muslims have even used the internment of the Japanese during World War* II as justification.
Then there are Jeff Sessions and Stephen Bannon, Trumps selections for Attorney General and Chief Strategist, respectively. Sessions has expressed anti-Muslim and anti-immigration sentiments before. He was also denied a position as a judge for making racist comments.
Bannon is a Neo-Nazi who has said that Silicon Valley has too many Asian (including Indian) CEOs† and is against letting foreign students who graduate from universities in the United States stay in the country.
If things look bleak, they are—and this is just the beginning.
*During World War II, the United States rounded up Japanese Americans (including the US-born children of immigrants) and relocated them to internment camps. Actor George Takei and Congressman Mike Honda have both talked about their experiences in these camps. I first learned about the Japanese internment camps in high school, after reading Farewell to Manzanar.
†Bannon claimed that two-thirds (67%) to three-quarters (75%) of tech CEOs are Asian (including South Asian), while the actual figure is closer to about 14%.