I Will Not Cower: Pushing Back Against Trump’s Hate Speech

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Haley Bayne carries a pride flag during the Anti-Trump protest.

Haley Bayne carries a pride flag during the Anti-Trump protest.

“Stop posting on Facebook and buy a gun.”

These were the words my Dad said to me over the phone the day after Donald Trump won the presidential election. My dad has never owned a gun and has always been vocal about despising them. I grew up in El Paso, which is a deeply blue part of an otherwise red Texas. I sat on my couch silently sobbing because my Dad saying that meant that he had given up. The America he raised us in was gone. Hate and fear won.

I woke up that Wednesday morning with swollen eyes from crying the night before and a dry mouth from the bottle of wine I drank while I watched in despair as the election numbers rolled in. I, like so many of my fellow Americans, was heartbroken. As Clinton’s numbers dropped, I tightened the grip on my glass and gulped down my wine in hopes that my sinking heart would float rather than drown.

When Trump won Ohio – the one state that has not voted for a losing president since 1960 – my sister called me. Her voice was soft and quiet, like when a child knows it is in trouble or hiding something. She was crushed. I could tell she was fighting back tears, choking on the disbelief, just as I was. Then after a few seconds of holding back the tears, we both broke down crying amid telling each other we loved one another. We are both tough women, and the only other time I had heard my sister cry was when my grandmother passed away.

That is why it was difficult for me not to cry when my father suggested that I be quiet and buy a gun. My parents raised us to stand up for ourselves and not let people get the upper-hand on us easily. They raised us to become compassionate human beings and taught us to watch our backs as well as those around us.

During one of the countless trips my family took to Juarez, Mexico growing up, my Dad took us to an ice cream shop. Amid our family ordering, a young boy and girl, about 5 years in age, came up to my Dad, and asked him if he would buy them ice cream too. Without even thinking about it, my dad responded, “Claro que sí.” The children’s faces lit up and they feverishly studied all the flavors with overwhelming anticipation. My Dad gave the cashier some extra money and told him to take care of the kids.

This is the same man who told me he was held up at gunpoint one day while in Juarez.

The police officer who held him up told my Dad that if he wanted to live, he needed to get out of the car. My Dad leaned across the passenger seat, reached into the glove compartment, and pulled out his Mexican military ID. My Dad was not combat trained, he was recruited by the Mexican Army to play basketball. Even though the ID was well over 30 years old, the police officer backed down, apologized to my Dad, and let him go. My Dad got lucky, but even after that experience, he never thought to buy a gun.

This election was important to me and to so many of my friends and family. I am Hispanic and I’m a woman, so I belong to two of the groups Trump and his supporters targeted and vilified the most. I might as well have a target on my back – and on another body part our President-elect has crudely spoken of in the past.

I understand my father’s concern: I am an outspoken pro-Clinton, anti-Trump, and anti-everything-he-insinuates, social justice warrior on Facebook. Social justice warrior – a term coined by the far right for those of us who raise our voices against the injustices we observe, whether on the internet or in real life – is a title I have adopted with pride. My father’s concern stems from my social media posts. He is afraid that someone who may want to harm people with my ideology, would seek me out, and hurt me – or worse.

Clinton supporters are not upset because their candidate lost. We are saddened because it means hate and fear won. It means that America, as a collective, said it is acceptable to hate a group of people simply for being different. Trump’s rhetoric blindly led so many people to believe that we – Mexicans, immigrants, and many other groups – were the root cause for many of the U.S.’s troubles, when it is much more complicated than that. His election made misogyny, racism, sexism, bigotry, lying, and acting like a spoiled child acceptable. The “isms” have existed for some time, but I feel like I was thrown into a time machine, and I’m now desperately trying to get back to 2016.

When I heard Trump call Mexican immigrants rapists, I was irate. Not only because he had just degraded so many humble, hard-working people, but also because his approval numbers – and with it, my blood pressure – went up.

America, really?

Little did I, or the world, anticipate that that was just the beginning of it all. Trump steamrolled across countless boundaries, and every time he said something horribly offensive, more and more people came out of the woodworks to support him. Videos and sound bites of horrible and ignorant things some of his supporters were spitting began to surface, and he stood at the front egging them on. People started getting attacked in restaurants, on the street, and at work, simply for being different, for being non-white and non-Christian. It made me sick.

As a kid growing up in the late ‘90s, I never thought I would see hate rise to such levels. I thought my generation was smart enough and raised in a loving, accepting, understanding time. How wrong I was. Many of those simple ideas died when Clinton lost. The America I knew, where hard-working, kind-hearted people of any ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, physical ability, or creed could be accepted and allowed to flourish, died with Trump’s election. The America of inclusion, progress, new ideas, and non-judgment died – We collectively killed it. That is why Clinton supporters cried. We didn’t just lose, love and progress died.

At this moment Trump is assembling a racist, anti-LGBTQIA transition cabinet. Meanwhile people are posting photos and stories of being called n——, faggots, and wetbacks while others are spray painting swastikas and “Make America White Again” on walls. Women are being yelled at by groups of men saying “grab her by the p—-.” People are pulling women’s hijabs of their heads in plain sight. Children in schools are being told to go back to where they came from. Children are saying this, not just adults. My question is not only how did we get here, but why?

This behavior, this emboldened display of hate, cannot be justified. I am scared, not just for myself, but for my community, for all the people who have been a target of Trump’s hate speech, and of those who decided to support him for that reason. The UK has seen an increase in racism since the Brexit vote. The video below shows examples of how communities have dealt with public occurrences and disrupting any form of “ism.”

Although I have this fear in me, I am not going to cower. I will not hide under my covers, or move, or be quiet about what is happening all over this country. I will not stop going to festivals, events, the grocery store, or my local bar. That is what those who have hate in their heart want us to do. They want us to be afraid. They want us to hide. They want us to cower. I will not cower.

And I will not buy a gun.

What I will do is call out racism, sexism, misogyny, and anti-LGBTQIA and religious rhetoric. I will hold those responsible accountable, whether it is in public, or in private conversations among family, friends, and colleagues. We may not experience the hate personally, but that does not mean it is not happening.

I ask everyone who does not agree with Trump’s hate speech – whether you voted for him or not – to do the same. Prayers, hopes, and well-wishes will not make hate go away. Action and holding people accountable for their misbehavior is what will help turn this country around and lead it back to being one of inclusion, progress, new ideas, and non-judgment. That’s what America is. And if we cannot agree on that, then we are further beyond reconciliation than I thought.

8 thoughts on “I Will Not Cower: Pushing Back Against Trump’s Hate Speech

  1. What I hate: Watching teenagers have 2 or 3 kids, and we have to support them. Personally seeing a well dressed woman at a convenience store paying for 2 3-liter sodas and 3 large bags of chips with food stamps and then getting into her 2014 auto. Spending more on education than any country in the world per student and ranking below the top 25. Spending millions of dollars on English-Spanish language for elections, business, education, and many other things when no other nationality requests it. Being $20 TRILLION in debt. Seeing more and more kids having no respect for their parents, teachers, and piers. Seeing the immorality, irresponsibility, and ignorance that exists moreso than 50 years ago. Students demanding free college when half of them have absolutely no business or reason for attending college because they are afraid of work or learning a trade. Hope all these young people dry their tears, learn to handle adversity, and grow up.

  2. +Jerry Kopplin:
    To respond to what you hate:
    I agree with you on the failure of our costly education system to produce well-educated people with a sense of responsibility and civic duty is astounding. I think there is a massive complex of factors underlying this.
    Now on to what I don’t agree with you:
    Teenagers w 2 or 3 kids: The fault of regressive religious right-wing legislators and SBOE members who are terrified of our kids getting accurate information on sex and birth control. If sex ed and birth control were taught in each year of high school and if free birth control products were available, we might see fewer of those multi-kid teenagers.
    Buying soda & chips: Again, lack of education and profound effect of marketing of soda & chips.
    “No other nationality requests [election, business & education materials in their language]. Actually, in California such is routine for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Some states accommodate the diversity of their population.
    Re “kids having no respect for their parents, teachers, and piers” (I didn’t realize kids were discourteous to docks): What forces create that disrespect? Uh, perhaps it is the parents themselves, perhaps it is teachers who are forced by SBOE to “teach to the test,” perhaps it is a sign of our online digital times where kids are lacking in social skills and don’t function well in the world unless confronting it through their handheld devices.
    Re “the immorality, irresponsibility, and ignorance that exists”: Much of that can be fixed with values-based education.
    It is breathtaking how you generalize that half of college students are “afraid of work or learning a trade.” Where did you get your data for that statement?
    As far as “learn to handle adversity,” have you any idea the size of the average student loan debt recent college graduates carry? Have you by any chance heard how difficult it is for recent college grads to find entry-level jobs? I assume you are over 40 years old. Today’s “adversity” is much, much more difficult than what people of your and my generations faced.
    PS: I feel that the violent nature of our society contributes to the substandard performance of our young people as productive, responsible members of our society underlies much of our society’s problems. Studies have shown that the average kid “witnesses” a large volume of physical violence and killing on TV, movies and videogames. Why is the image of two men kissing considered “unfit for the kids,” yet the image of two men killing each other perfectly ok? I’m surprised our kids aren’t worse off.

  3. Thanks for writing this and sharing your personal story and thoughts. I appreciate Rivard Report for being a great forum for just this kind of thing — I too have been so surprised by reports of young folks doing hateful acts towards people they don’t know and have just grouped together and labeled…out of fear. We can’t fight fear with fear so I agree with your compassionate and brave words to not just pray it will go away… but to face it with positive action and standing up against hatred.

  4. All this so called hate-speech you refer to is misconstrued information that has been wrongly taken by not only you, but the entire left side of the political spectrum. Oftien as a result of this astounding level of ignorance and refusal to see the logic in such things. Trump’s so called hate speech that you claim has been spewed about people of other nationalities is a great example of how ignorant and narrowminded people can be. More specifically in reference to his comments about Mexicans as well as other Hispanic people, were not as derogatory as you seem to have been made to think. All he simply said was that some of these illegal immigrants that cross the border because they make more here than in Mexico, don’t contribute positively to society or the economy. Why shouldn’t it be inferred that some of them may be criminals convicted of heinous crimes. They could very well be. Bottom line is that America is better off without them. Donald trump is a man with a working idea of what the economy should look like. And illegal immigrants play no part in his plan. As I understand it, racial profiling isn’t the only thing he has been viciously attacked for by the media. For example all these social justice warriors that are concerned that trump is a hater of lgbtq members. Where you get this ideology is actually mind baffling as I have googled this and trump has never used hateful words in references to the lgbtq. As a matter of fact, every comment he has made had been about his support of the lgbtq community. Yet another made up fact by the lgtbq to gain attention and further themselves from society, as they constantly preach the contrary that they are in favor of equality in society, they are moving the other way. Americans voted for trump,not because they believe in his so called “prejudice platform” but because he is a man of proven competence and a sound, intelligent platform. If social justice warriors are so concerned about these topics, perhaps they should stay informed. Just because Hillary Clinton was trying to use her lifetime knowledge of politics to her advantage. She forgot the most important part of running for President, and that is a plan. What Hillary lacks in intellect she makes up for with false promises and support from media outlets. It is no secret that in terms of media, left sides politicians have the advantage because they provide financial support to useless companies. You might have heard of CNN (Clinton News Network). It is rightfully nicknamed. Those people who voted for Hillary are the narrowminded people that can’t stay informed but love the uniformity that social justice presents itself with. If you hold such topics dear to you, perhaps you should have read the facts when you had the chance. Let’s face the facts, crying (or rioting!!!) Won’t change the results of the election. It just shows how petty people can be when they don’t get their way. America is far better off with trump than Hillary. If Hillary were elected we would have a criminal running the most powerful country in the world. In the current situation, America has a solid President with an plan to succeed. If you need further evidence that a left sided government is not good. Look at Canada after we elected Justin trudeau. Are we out of the recession? No but hey we changed the anthem for gender equality and have racked up 30 billion dollars worth of debt. More debt pending. Worth noting we are still trying to pay off the debt his father and other liberal governments have managed to rack up. I am a 15 year old from Canada and even I have managed to stay informed. I still don’t understand why it’s so difficult for the so called “politically passionate” people cant do the same. Instead of worrying about what is politically correct, worry about things that matter.

  5. Part of understanding each other is listening to each others personal stories.I feel SO FORTUNATE to live in a country with lots of different people who have had different life experiences and cultural journeys. I enjoy all kinds of festivals, food, and unique perspectives because we aren’t one homogeneous group. This election has not made us a compassionate country, it has torn us a part. I am sad for EVERYONE’S pain. It’s a wake up call.

    Priscilla was brave to tell HER STORY. It’s an opportunity to listen and give her positive feedback in the comments of HER story. It’s not an opportunity to rant. If those who are commenting feel misunderstood with what you believe or think, write your own personal essay instead of using comments in her story to twist and use her words for a different agenda. It’s okay to have a different opinion and your voice matters too but until you stand in someone else’s same shoes (even our president (electoral college) elect) you don’t know what they have experienced. I challenge you to spend some time listening and hearing someone else without having to put your words in their mouth.

    • As opposed to ranting about other people’s ranting. Perhaps you should have payed attention to the writing. At no point did anyone say anything negative or derogatory to the person who told their story. Although if people are concerned about how corrupt society has become and how our youth behave towards eachother. Perhaps they should know why. The answer resides here. Articles such as these that promote the idea of hate speech and misinterpret quotes to sound racist or prejudice are the exact thing that create this type of ideology. Your comment was negative as well and you took an otherwise harmless situation and amplified it by acknowledging any negativity with your own negativity. At least that is my interpretation of the situation.

  6. Hate and fear is total b.s. Illegal immigration is a crime and causes more crime to follow. Legal immigration is to stop crime. Another, yes another woman was beaten and raped by an illegal immigrant criminal. Why do you want this? Are the 5 year old children raped by illegals not enough for you? Are the tens of thousands of crimes committed by illegals not enough for you? Many are on Latino American Citizens. See the difference or are you unable to think beyond your stupid, ignorant, Soros, Move on slogans for the mentally insane? You are a disgrace to woman and children and to Latinos everywhere.

  7. As opposed to ranting about other people’s ranting. Perhaps you should have payed attention to the writing. At no point did anyone say anything negative or derogatory to the person who told their story. Although if people are concerned about how corrupt society has become and how our youth behave towards eachother. Perhaps they should know why. The answer resides here. Articles such as these that promote the idea of hate speech and misinterpret quotes to sound racist or prejudice are the exact thing that create this type of ideology. Your comment was negative as well and you took an otherwise harmless situation and amplified it by acknowledging any negativity with your own negativity.

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