Trump supporters don’t face real discrimination


The Daily Illini File Photo

Students sit in the Illini Union on Friday to watch Donald Trump, the 45th President of the U.S., be inaugurated.

By Tatiana Rodriguez, Columnist

 Freedom of speech, like most rights, is often taken for granted yet constantly pointed to as a pillar of American values.

However, just because one has the right to free speech doesn’t mean that they are excused from the consequences that their words may invoke.

This is a time of turbulent politics, and plenty of people are vocalizing their opinions, whether it be in support or in opposition of the United States’ current president. But there are also individuals who are exercising their right to free speech in a much more covert fashion and receiving just as much backlash for it.

In 2015, Trump’s campaign spent a little over $1.8 million on merchandise throughout the year according to a report to the Federal Election Commission.

And in just June of 2016 alone, President Donald Trump’s campaign team disclosed to the Federal Election Commission that they spent roughly $907,000 on campaign merchandise which included hats, t-shirts, stickers and more.

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sIt’s safe to say that Trump’s campaign valued their right to free speech enough to spend millions of dollars on “Make America Great Again” merchandise.

And while it makes sense that the Trump campaign would benefit from advertising, merchandise sales and general support from potential voters, it’s a bit confusing to consider what the consumers of Trump merchandise get out of the transaction.

Online forums such as Reddit have hosted discussion boards surrounding the topic of Trump merchandise and whether or not it’s “safe” to wear in public.

While Trump supporters should not be faced with the possibility of violence as they sport their “Make America Great Again” hats, it’s ironic and understandable that they get a small taste of what it feels like to be judged on-sight for their appearance.

However,  discrimination based on the color of one’s skin or whether one is wearing clothing associated with religion is far more serious than receiving a dirty look for choosing to wear a Trump hat.

Race or religious affiliations say nothing concrete about one’s character or morals, yet Trump merchandise strongly suggests that the individual wearing said merchandise so strongly aligns themselves with Trump’s racist, xenophobic and fascist rhetoric that they’re willing to broadcast it to the public.

People who wear Trump merchandise are so comfortable with the fact that the current president’s executive orders and personal opinions are damaging millions of American lives that they are willing to purchase a shirt and brand themselves as an unsafe, misinformed individual to be around.

They don’t care that others’ lives have been and will be affected by Trump, but they sure will go to Reddit and complain that they are being “discriminated against.”

So yes, when an individual openly supports a president who will unapologetically destroy lives, it makes sense that they will be met with dirty looks, fear and confusion. But dirty looks don’t even compare to the systems of oppression that millions of Americans actually face every single day.

So, who’s the “crybaby snowflake” now?

Tatiana is a freshman in Media.

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