I was sitting with one of my best friends and she asked me and another friend, “How do people hate?” I don’t know how exactly how to do it, I told her. She asked me if I have hated before. My response was that I have hated only the people that I loved the most. So is that hate, or just the darker side of love? I honestly don’t know the answer to that.
There are some questions even Google can’t answer. Apparently there a few questions left for god, should we run into him. I am sitting quietly by the window at 5:30 a.m. I shouldn’t be doing this, I should be grading papers. I have a stack of papers to grade by Monday. I have a life to live, I don’t want to spend too much of it contemplating hate.
But I can’t stop wondering about all of these hate crimes that have been happening lately. I sometimes look Latino to some people, sometimes Arabic and sometimes Indian or Pakistani. I am actually Indian, but this sort of universal identity leaves me open to become prey to these animals that are walking around disrespecting and sometimes violently disrupting people’s lives.
Will I be a victim of a hate crime? I can’t answer that either, google apparently has no idea, and either does Siri. It’s too bad I count on them all the time. I’m a Sikh, and my brothers wear turbans. We are not Muslim. But that is not the point. Sikh men are being harassed around the country with this newfound zest for hate.
I can’t stop people from hating each other. But let me tell you something. I don’t hate the perpetrators of these crimes. Something is wrong with them to want to violate another human being. I don’t hate all the people that voted for a president that is somehow inciting this kind violence against minorities.
When I was a kid I did have some experience with bullying. In kindergarten these boys, many boys, would run around the playground chasing me chanting: Stinky Nina! I think my sweat glands at that time had matured at a faster rate than other kids.
The thing is, I was in kindergarten. Yes, it hurt like mad. I cried, I probably cried every day it was happening. But kids are stupid. They are mean because they don’t know any better. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.”
These hate crimes lately are being enacted by children and adults, children who are learning from adults, and adults that are acting like children. What makes a person do such a thing as force a Muslim woman to take off her Hijab or threaten to set her on fire? How can someone live with themselves after they spit on a Sikh man or call him a Sand Nigger? Did someone hurt these people? Are they that alienated from themselves? Why are people mean?
It might be futile to try to uncover the inner workings of racist, sexist, and xenophobic people. I would like to say that since Trump won the presidency I feel safer around minorities in public. I feel like they are my people, no matter what race they are.
I feel safer around women than I do around men, as I always have. Probably because I feel like many men are objectifying me without even thinking about it. I don’t think they are going to grab my pussy, but who knows these days. It’s a particularly dark day when your leader has legitimized disrespect and violence towards women and minorities.
I wear a safety pin to tell people I am a safe person to talk to. It is a new symbol in society for people who are in solidarity with minorities who are violated. What is going on though? What is happening in this world, in this life that I have created in what I thought was a safe place? I’m sorry world, that I ignored all the problems you were having everywhere. I’m sorry I was living in a bubble.
America. I thought you were better than this, America. But since you were built on the backs of slaves after taking over the lands of Native Americans, what did I expect? I hate this. This is what I hate.
There is a suddenly new fear that I have of even being around people I don’t know. You know people often tell minorities to go back to where they came from. I came from Flint, Michigan. India is almost as foreign to me as it is to them. I don’t know where to go back to.
I am an American. I fear that this will be the first time I will be ashamed to say that. I’m not completely distraught yet, but I’m getting there. What more has to happen to put me over the edge? Don’t kid yourself, this is just the beginning…
This is the first day of the rest of our lives, people. You know what they say: if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Even if I am never targeted, I have friends and family that very easily could be. I have many LGBT friends who have suddenly, overnight in fact, become more vulnerable to attacks.
I don’t know what to do. I was thinking of starting a group of people who want to do something but have no idea what to do. I will probably march on Washington in January with the Women’s Movement. I will probably cry and maybe even pray more.
There’s a knot in my stomach that has been there since Tuesday night, election night. We literally did turn the clocks back this fall. How far are people going to go? How far will I go to try to help? Somewhere in the middle we all meet, face to face.
I don’t hate you, even if you hate me.
But I will say that I will not sit by idly and watch my brothers and sisters being violated. I will not be complicit. I can honestly say that if I die doing something to help other people live…then I have had a full life. Racism, hatred of women and violence is going on all around the world. It has just occurred to me now because it is happening in my space.
I’m actually a very sensitive person. I hope, I pray that I don’t breakdown because of this. But I know I am strong even though I’m gentle. I know I will get through this as I have gotten through everything I have experienced in life thus far. So will you.
The Real Work
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.