A Future Not to Believe In
For the past four years, I have been living in a distorted reality.
I was led to believe that I’m welcome here. That I belonged here. Because everywhere I went, I felt nothing but kindness and friendliness from people I met; in school or at work, I was not treated any differently because of what I looked like or where I came from. If anything, my difference in culture and background is cherished and celebrated, not discriminated. So I went on to believe this was the norm—this was what most Americans thought.
I was wrong.
Turns out, nearly half of the American people thought otherwise—way more than I expected. The reality is, I am less welcome than I thought. I start to question if I truly belong here, or ever will.
I felt I was Truman in The Truman Show and Tuesday night was when my boat hit that wall painted with blue sky.
But I’m not so cynical as to think that what I’ve experienced so far was merely people acting to be friendly and kind; I do believe that most of the people I met respected me and trusted me sincerely. Granted, there may have been some people who behaved that way only because they were under the pressure of political correctness; xenophobia and racism do still exist in this country, as the election result showed.
Still, my perception of the reality was heavily distorted by the “nice” people around me. Although I was not blind to the fact that there were other voices in this country expressing hostility to people of different gender, color, or belief, I seriously underestimated their popularity and impact. Until now.
You may say, “Don’t worry, everything will be fine.” I’m afraid it won’t. And here’s why: From now on I have to live every day in fear that someday, somewhere, I could be attacked because of my race, either verbally or physically. Double the fear if it was my wife being attacked rather than myself. I have never concerned about our safety in the United States for the past four years; now I do.
And it’s not just safety. I came here because I believed everyone is given a fair chance to pursue their dreams in America, regardless of gender, race, sexuality or belief. I believed I can achieve anything if I work hard for it. I feel less certain now. As a minority, I may never get the opportunity equal to my efforts. And as a foreigner, I could easily be the victim of a stricter immigration policy.
I didn’t have a vote. America voted for a future without me in it.
If the day comes when I must leave, leave I will. For I do not wish to live in a country that I wanted to love but hated me.