In light of the recent election and where Amherst stands in its history with diversity, allyship has never been more pertinent. There are individuals at this college who have been scarred by racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-semitism, classicism, religious discrimination, xenophobia, etc. for most, if not all of their lives. There are also individuals on this campus who have never experienced any of those oppressions.
To my white - particularly straight and male, friends - who have stressed the importance of compassion, understanding and forgiveness in the wake of this election, as a means of becoming a less divided country:
As a person passionate about politics and government, I can understand and even appreciate your sentiment. However, as a woman of color and first generation immigrant, I’m also having a lot of difficulty accepting it.
A week ago, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States of America. Our campus reacted that night, and we continue to react in different ways every day. The feeling on campus remains somber. As we prepare for the peaceful transition of power and what the next four years might entail, it’s important to first consider the ways Amherst College, as an institution, has facilitated or stifled student discourse on the new government.
When I started trying to write about how I processed the election, I found myself incoherently, guiltily stumbling over acknowledging my privileges in a way that centered them and sounded both self-righteous and oddly self-congratulatory.
Need to respond to your step-uncle’s concerning position on climate change? Facebook is the place. Don’t like a protest that one of your fellow classmates staged? Post a status on Facebook, and watch the comment thread devolve. Become angered by what you read in these comment sections? Write an opinion piece!
Oh, you have a friend back home who’s Indian? That’s nice — I really am happy for you. But I just don’t see what that has to do with me.
(Yes, I’ve had this said to me at Amherst several times.)
Trump absolutely cannot be allowed to win and everyone ought to vote for Hillary Clinton, at the very least, to prevent Trump from winning. Excellent. Now what? The issue of Hillary Clinton has been one that I’ve grappled with since it was clear that she had trumped Bernie Sanders in the primary. Like a man terrified of commitment, the best I can do is say I’m only sort of with her.