Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Uncertainty and Fear among the Diaspora over Trump Win

By on November 11, 2016

The prevailing sentiment among U.S. minorities—especially Latinos— after President-elect Donald Trump’s victory is that of agony, uncertainty and paranoia, several Puerto Ricans residing on the U.S. mainland told Caribbean Business.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a campaign rally at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a campaign rally at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

The demagoguery used by Trump throughout his campaign, which called for the expulsion of Latino immigrants out of the country, among other ultra-right postures, has unleashed chaos among those in the U.S. minority, who feel their safety threatened in light of the fanaticism that Trump supporters have shown throughout his campaign, and which have only come more onto the surface after his election as the nation’s 45th president.

Various U.S. media outlets have maintained a running account of events that continue to take place across the country after the election, among them graffiti with swastikas that read “Make America White Again,” or allusions to Germany’s Third Reich regime or World War II; racist attacks on several college campuses; Caucasian Americans asking Latinos and other ethnic minorities when they will leave the country; and overtly racist vandalism on private property are just some of the events that have stained the controversial triumph of the Republican candidate.

Elisa Guzmán Hosta, a Boston resident since 2012 and a school psychologist on Lynn, said there is great uncertainty among her community’s Hispanic population.

“There is a lot of uncertainty and fear, especially after a Republican campaign that was characterized by excluding minorities and talking openly about certain ethnic groups by associating them with terrorism, drugs, and deviated conduct. This type of racist and segregationist rhetoric has awakened a genuine fear in Latinos, as well as other minorities who now have a fear of presenting themselves as they are—for example, openly speaking Spanish, or wearing a hijab in the case of Muslim women, may awake hatred and even pose a danger to their physical well-being. This, without taking into consideration the increase in racial attacks that the African-American population has also suffered,” said the San Juan-born clinical psychologist.

Guzmán said she worried about “an increase in racist and segregationist rhetoric toward minorities, and the short and long-term consequences this may bring on a sociocultural level. Racism and discontent toward certain ethnic groups has always existed to a larger or lesser degree, but many have understood that it wasn’t socially acceptable to express it openly, and thus kept under control to a certain point. However, the fact that a leader has openly talked about these ethnic groups using racist, exclusive, and segregationist comments has awakened a sleeping giant that will be very difficult to eradicate.”

For his part, Eric Jovet, an accountant residing in Orlando, Florida since 1998, assured that despite being a city crowded with Latinos, there is ample worry among Orlando’s Latino residents.

“There is worry. Not all Latinos here are Puerto Rican, most have their papers in order but they still feel the pressure, and there are Anglos that still don’t understand that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. But the worry is not limited to Latinos, but among all minorities, [people with different] sexual orientations, and even North Americans that are educated and open-minded,” expressed Jovet, who was born in Ponce.

Likewise, Luis Rosario (real name withheld by request) , who just relocated in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 2016 with his wife and two children, confirmed there is much worry in his city over Trump’s election as president and the materialization of his racist discourse.

“There is a lot of worry, especially when the state, in general, is dominated by a white population. His temperament and twisted worldview worry me. I don’t think him capable of maintaining good relations with other countries, and I’m scared of his way of thinking regarding current immigration policies in the United States,” said Rosario, who works as a technician in a television station.

Rosario acknowledged, regardless, that Trump knew how to carry a campaign that touched millions of people, although he unleashed once again the monster of explicit racism, dormant for decades, after a fight for civil rights throughout the 1960s.

“I think the main reason he won is that people saw a weak candidate in [Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton], and more than that, they considered her another element of the ‘establishment’ that Trump attacked and promised to defeat,” the Arecibo-born technician noted.

On the other hand, José Román, a software technician residing in Smyrna, Tennessee since summer 2012, stressed that Clinton was the candidate that won the popular vote, but Trump came out victorious due to the country’s electoral college system. However, he nevertheless considered the victory meant a setback on the fight for minorities’ rights.

“With his election by way of the electoral college, Trump and the Republican legislature will stall any progressive initiative that benefits any demographic that isn’t white, Christian, male and heterosexual. That’s without considering that he will probable nominate three candidates to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as the damage he may cause to the economy and environment. I am very worried because, basically, the United States -and Puerto Rico due to its colonial status- are in severe trouble for the following four years,” said the Carolina-born Román.

Meanwhile, Humacao-born José “Pepe” Delgado, a university chair retiree who has lived in Columbia, South Carolina for 22 years, explained that there is large concern over salary changes among Mexican and Central American Latinos.

“I perceive great apprehension among this region’s Latinos. Puerto Ricans don’t have much to worry about in terms of their citizen status, and many Puerto Ricans settled in South Carolina tend to vote Republican without noticing that the party’s supporters generally repudiate Latinos. However, the rest of Latinos who don’t some from continental territories or Puerto Rico fear for their migratory condition, as well as those of family and friends who aspire to emigrate to the United States. The few people I know that are here illegally are trembling,” he said.

“I’m worried over his lack of experience, his boastful and imprudent disposition, his narcissism and his egocentric tendencies, his ignorance on international relations, and his inexistent moral fiber,” he declared.

Likewise, Humberto Jiménez, broadcasting instructor in a technical college in Miami, Florida, said he was worried not only because of Trump’s election, but because he also has a Republican majority in Congress. Jiménez thinks that this may constitute the validation of a racist sector, and its possible consequences.

“There is a cultural and generational war going on. The consciousness of the North American population is changing. Donald Trump is a countercultural response to Obama’s eight years’ tenure as a black president,” he said.

Nonetheless, all the people interviewed dismissed the possibility of moving out of the United States, although they added they will remain vigilant of any action against their safety.

 

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