Posted By: Jamiyah Bethune
Posted On: November 10th, 2016
Attending: Institute of Technology Carlow

With everything happening in America this week has been extremely testing. It felt like I was being followed by a cloud of helplessness as I watched the recent events in my country unfold. To not be able to physically vote and be apart of such a huge presidential election was frustrating. The outcome of this election left me feeling genuine fear and sadness for the people I love and share a home nation with. Unfortunately, with this presidential race America has validated the religious persecution of Muslims, the exile and alienation of immigrants, scrutiny of the LGBT community and racial discrimination of black people. To know that more than half of your country supports a man with so much hate and malice in his heart is a hard pill to swallow. This is not just a funny situation that we'll all be able to laugh off in 4 years time. This affects me and the people I love both directly and indirectly. While I don't believe he will be able to carry out many of his hateful tactics due to checks and balances, I do believe that his rhetoric has set the pace for a nationwide divide. I fear that he's opened the doors for outright hate and racism that people now feel comfortable to act on.

            With all this being said, I can definitely say it was an emotional week for me. I often found myself in political conversations everywhere I went, whether it be the grocery store, the pub, school, etc. Everyone wanted to know how I felt about the election. If I'm being honest, I haven't always been known for being the most patient person. So it was extremely frustrating to have some people laugh and make jokes about it and not fully understand everything that is at stake. By the end of each of these conversations I found that I changed the mood from funny/lighthearted to almost uncomfortable and awkward. While this may seem excessive I found it extremely necessary. This election and living in Ireland has forced me to be a whole new kind of patient. Being who I am, coming from where I'm from, I feel I have a duty to myself and my loved ones to: 1. voice myself and 2. stand up for what I believe to be right. While I don't blame Irish people for not sympathizing with my fears I do think that many people can't comprehend how hard it can be to be an American sometimes. As a African American female I have had many many encounters with the kind of people who will soon run this country. I've felt afraid for my own safety, for the lives of the men in my family, and for the security of my home and possessions. I've watch people who look like me die on camera at the hands of the very people meant to protect us. My whole life I've always lived with a fear deep inside that at any moment myself and the people I love could become dispensable. This fear is not irrational. This fear is not new. It's been passed down from generation to generation and I will likely have to pass it onto my own children. Because without this fear I become susceptible to being victimized like so many people before me. So this week I had real conversations with people. I made clear the reasons why so many people feared this moment. I explained the true significance of this election. And people listened. I got a lot of hugs and empathy but more importantly I gained patience and a new understanding of what people on the outside see.

            Timothy Ferriss once said "A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have." I think these kind of conversations are important, even if they are uncomfortable. The conditions are never optimal for these talks but if we don't change the conversation now how do we change the current rhetoric?

Stay Updated! Sign up to our newsletter

Stay Updated! Sign up to our newsletter