Written by Brooke Beck; Illustration by Ramisha Sattar
If making America “great again” consists of taking our policies back to the 1840s, I think we will pass. From hates crimes on mosques, to asking for a “total and complete” shut down of Muslims entering the United States, America’s current stance on immigration seems uncannily familiar to that of the Chinese Exclusion Act well over a century ago. Trump has been known for making Islamophobic comments regarding Muslims being a threat to American lives and jobs. The rhetoric from the time of President Chester Arthur reflects that of Donald Trump on a large scale. If the “all Muslims are terrorists” stigma is what is keeping those who wish to seek refuge in an America that was built by immigrants, we are living in an unchanged, and equally as racist country. Although the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, its xenophobic air still perpetuates in modern day America through Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban.”
It doesn’t come as a shock that America is a country that has room for improvement. America becomes more progressive as the years go by, but in regards to social justice issues, we have had very little advancements since the civil rights movement. People of color continue to see the government that’s supposed to protect them spit right in their faces. As black people are shot by trigger happy officers, and Muslim women are attacked and have their hijabs ripped off their heads, America goes further and further back into its regressive hole. Through this “Muslim Ban” Trump has shown America’s true colors.
Immigration is not a light topic that people typically mull over over a cup of tea. Although it has always been a major political dispute, young people hadn’t been seen to chime in on their opinions until very recently. Living in the social media golden age, young people are more active in politics and activism than ever before. That’s why when Trump’s “Muslim Ban” came to prominence, students rushed to take action by tweeting their sentiments against the ban and even protesting at local airports. Because of the information only a click away, and instant gratification and that social media gives us, activism and change are at our fingertips.
Teens have a front row seat at one of the most trying times in history, and together we can make significant change. Look at history and pay attention to the signs because making connections is what thwarts corruption. For every similarity to the dark times of America’s past, we can make that connection and work to fix the problem.