Four Ways Maintain Your Dignity in a Nation of Emboldened Racism

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Photo by Lorie Shaull (Flickr/cc)

As a third-generation American citizen who is 25 percent Filipino and 75 percent German, I’ve spent my life fielding questions about my ethnicity.

“Are you Native American?”

“You must be from Mexico or somewhere down there, right?”

“Are you sure you’re not a little bit Mexican?”

It seems the only “race” you can be in America if your skin is brown is Mexican.

Since the start of Trump’s campaign, I have been directly targeted with at least three unprovoked instances of racism and blatant ignorance.

During the primaries, I was at work when a man came through my line. As I was checking his items out, he told me he was excited to vote for Trump. I told him that I was from Nevada and expected my home state would vote for Trump as well.

“How do you like being in the states?”

Um, excuse me, sir? How do I like being in the states? As opposed to what?

At that moment, I was in such disbelief that I just started laughing.

“Well, my great-grandfather fought in World War II for the U.S. and the two generations before me have loved it here.”

For those of us who are anything other than visibly 100% white in this new era, such comments are only going to become more frequent. Since ripping people limb from limb is frowned upon – even when they’re racists – here are four alternatives that will help you maintain your dignity and composure in the presence of jackasses.

1. Be Yourself

Never be ashamed of the color of your skin, your race, or your religion. Our country is built on immigration and the colonists that fought for our Independence were from many different countries. If you want to wear a hijab because it’s part of your culture and faith, go right on ahead. If you prefer to speak Spanish since you were raised speaking it, speak Spanish all you want! No matter what people think or say about you, being yourself and maintaining your cultural diversity is of utmost importance.

2. You Are Appreciated

No matter if you’re Black, White, Hispanic, Muslim, Korean, part of the LGBTQ+ community, Filipino, or otherwise, your contributions to this country are appreciated. For those of you who are immigrants – or even undocumented immigrants – working hard at the jobs that no one wants to do, you are appreciated. Even those who espouse bigotry will say that our country is built on hard work.

3. Be the Change You Want in the World

Photo by Alisdare Hickson (Flickr/cc)

Things don’t just fall into place, and we saw that first hand when a third of our country didn’t even vote in the presidential election. Since the beginning of Trump’s campaign – and even today – thousands upon thousands have hit the streets protesting and bringing up the issues that are happening in this country today. As citizens, no matter race or religion, it is our duty to continue to work and fight towards building a nation we aren’t embarrassed to be associated with.

4. This is Your Country

If America is your home, you’re meant to be in this country. This country is just as much yours as it is mine. Never forget that even though there are clearly hateful and ignorant people out there, there are also plenty of people who are kind and generous. Our country thrives off diversity and culture, so might as well embrace it. This is the United States of America, not the Whites-Only States of America.


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<p>Michael Rabina is a Reno, Nevada native who spends most of his time teaching people how to correctly say Nevada. Don’t ask him why he came all this way to Hattiesburg to pursue a journalism degree at the University of Southern Mississippi because he doesn’t actually know himself. Most of his photography work you can find on instagram (@m_rabina) or directly on his new website ( Michael is mainly interested in the visual aspects of journalism through photography and video, and when he’s not out shooting, you can find him at the closest McDonalds eating chicken nuggets.</p>

Latest comment
  • Excellent work Michael. I am sending you a letter on this topic of my personal stories and how I ran the racism gauntlet; so hopefully my journey can maybe give you some other real prospective to assist you on your journeys. Dad

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