Since Tuesday, I’ve faced the near-impossible challenge of telling my fiancé that we’ll be okay.
She has no reason to believe me. I told her the exact same thing before the election, and it didn’t prove to be true.
But it’s different now. We’re an interracial couple — I’m Chinese and Japanese American, and she’s Latin American, with roots in both Central and South America.
Her concern is that the election of President-elect Donald Trump legitimizes the rights of bigots to commit hate crimes against people like her given Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric about Mexico. We had hoped to start a family in the next few years, and now she’s not so sure she wants to bring a child into this world.
Can anyone blame her, given that David Duke, former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, tweeted “it’s time to TAKE AMERICA BACK!!!” after Trump’s victory?
Unexpectedly, pointing out reality has become my go-to tactic to reassure her that things will be okay. We’re still in the San Gabriel Valley, a fairly liberal, multiethnic part of Southern California, and it’s unlikely white supremacists are going to roll in all of a sudden.
The problem, of course, is that not everyone who sought to oppose Trump and his xenophobic, homophobic ideas lives in a place they can feel safe.
When I shared Duke’s tweet Tuesday night, a friend scoffed at the notion that white supremacists had been empowered by Trump. My middle-aged white friend is one of the staunchest Republicans I know, and I know he doesn’t harbor any indiscriminate hate for anyone.
So here’s my plea: Reasonable Trump voters — they exist, it’s not an oxymoron — if you want unity in this country, we need your help countering hate.
Don’t make fun of people peacefully protesting Trump’s victory. Try to understand why they’re so upset (see above).
Elected officials have been asking Muslims to keep an eye on their friends and family for signs of extremism, but this shouldn’t be limited to any single religious group.
Is your racist, homophobic friend stockpiling guns and ammunition? Let someone in law enforcement know. Domestic terrorism is alive and well in this country.
At the very least, talk to them. Ask them why one human life is worth more than another. It may not change their minds, but there’s value in doing what you can to support your fellow Americans.
Sometime in the 1970s, my uncle and his white wife moved to Temple City, California, which was then an affluent, majority white suburb east of Los Angeles. One night, they were startled to find a burning cross on their lawn.
I’ve never been afraid of something like that happening to me. It’s a different time, and that couldn’t happen here in 2016, I told myself.
I’m still mostly sure it won’t happen, but for the first time in my life, I can’t be 100 percent sure.
One of the things I noticed while driving around Los Angeles the past few weeks is that there weren’t many Clinton/Kaine or Trump/Pence lawn signs. What I saw more of were ones that read, “Pray for America.”
I’m not particularly religious, but the sentiment holds true for everyone. If we wish for what’s best for this country and everyone in it — regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual preference or anything else — we’ll be better for it.
We’ll be OK.
Christopher Yee is a former news editor for the Daily Californian.