By Isra Ahmed
Junior Guest Writer Isra Ahmed writes about her emotions following the 2016 presidential election and how to move forward from this event.
If you're under 18, chances are that you may not have paid as close attention to this election as you could have, at least not until the last few weeks. Some of us may not realize the effects of this election because of our age, but it has definitely had a profound effect on me. It has affected my outlook on the world we live in and my future.
When I woke up that fateful Wednesday morning and saw the headlines about our future president, I was mortified. How would I, a young Muslim female, ever feel safe knowing that my country was going to be run by a bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobe? That morning, for the first time since I began wearing it, I was honestly scared to put on my hijab. I was afraid of the judgement from others, the comments I would receive, and the threat of possible violence against me or my family. Since the election, I’ve been following Donald Trump’s plans for office. Many of the people he has appointed to important political positions use Islamophobic rhetoric. This alone frightens me; if people were unapologetic about their Islamophobic views before the election, how will they be now? Just days after the official results, the terrifying stories of bullying towards Muslims increased. The moment that really scared me was when when a family friend called to warn us that one of her friends actually had her hijab ripped off in an act of violence. These kind of actions are not okay. The fact that people no longer feel the need to hold back their racist opinions and actions because they have someone in power who confirms these opinions just completely astounds me.
In “the land of the free,” why am I still so scared to practice my religion? The entire election has caused me to question my identity as an American. I was born here. I was raised here. I belong here just as much as the next person. And I deserve to be recognized as an American. I have never known a home away from Memphis, so what gives one man the power to make me feel as if I don’t belong? No matter what kind of policies will be implemented within the next four to eight years, we must continue to stand up for what we believe in. I’m not saying that everything will be alright – because who knows. The true test of an individual lies in how we respond to difficult situations. And who knows, maybe in the end, we will be just fine.