This is a runner-up in our Teens Against Trump essay contest. Read more essays from the series here.
As a teenage, Muslim woman of color, I doubt Mr. Trump would listen to anything I have to say, given that stereotypes about me say that I am violent, dishonest, conniving and filled with angst. In defense of labeling and stereotyping, however, I would guess we inherently label people to make sense of them and "fit" them into categories.
The problem with this thought process is that humans are too complex to label. There is a reason you cannot think about a relationship between two people the same way you think of the relationship between supply and demand, for example. Economics can be labeled and categorized, but people cannot. Mr. Trump, I figure based on your business success, that you know economics very well. But America is not a business.
If we start believing these stereotypes and expectations and limitations set by others, where does our passion for innovation go? What happens to the hope, optimism and freedom that we are told we deserve as humans? What happens to those truths we are supposed to hold self-evident, that all are created equal and deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? What happens, Mr. Trump, to what you think makes America great... "again"? It goes away. Slowly but surely and one by one, we all start accepting the marginalization and negativity of the world. Slowly but surely and one by one, we lose hope.
But I refuse to accept this future. I refuse to lose hope. I will admit that it is extremely difficult to remain hopeful and optimistic about the future. Currently, I am struggling with remaining optimistic about my academic future, with college application decisions on the horizon and resisting senioritis, but there is also the future of the rest of the world, not just me, to concern myself with.
So, Mr. Trump, I need you to understand that this country does not need to be made great again by ignoring the contribution of all people. If we really want to make America great again, we need to be more compassionate, optimistic and motivated.
I want to give you the example of my parents, who strove for the American dream. My Mom and her family came to this country with literally nothing as refugees from Uganda. Now you, Donald Trump, want to turn away the same chasers of the American dream.
There is a misconception that cultures in the United States are fused into one, instead of being part of a pluralistic, cosmopolitan, integrated society. This country is not a melting pot, but rather a mosaic of people.
Because this is the first election that I can vote in, I plan on taking careful consideration in choosing which candidate to vote for. Thank you for making my decision easier by eliminating yourself as an option when you eliminated the potential of any person who does not fit into your cookie-cutter definition of what it means to be an American.