I took a red eye flight back to New York and arrived just past 7am this morning. I was bleary eyed, even after sleeping flat in business class for just over four hours. Four hours is not enough sleep for anyone. Who knew that I’d then be having a discussion on racism and gun control with my cab driver.
When I got into my cab to head back to the apartment, I made eye contact with my cab driver and realized he was not the usual Indian or Bangladeshi driver. After some small talk, I found out that he is actually Tibetan and had been living in this country for just over 15 years. He said he’s been married almost 15 years and wants to either go back to Southern India where there’s a large Tibetan community, or Tibet, where he’s from and where his family still lives. “I don’t feel safe in this country as a man,” he said, briefly mentioning the Charleston church shooting that has been all over the news in the last couple of days. “I don’t feel comfortable raising children here, especially boys. How can I feel comfortable knowing any random person can just get a gun, shoot, and kill me and my future son here?”
I felt so hurt hearing this. I realize that what he says sounds a bit paranoid, but given recent events, is it really that far fetched? Society is supposed to progress and get better as time goes on in an ideal world, and it seems like racism continues to persist. America, the land of plenty and opportunity, is disappointing immigrants and locals alike. What we praise as a melting pot that embraces all cultures, at this moment in time, just feels like a big sham, like a facade that we have to hold up to try to brag to the rest of the world that we’re the best (even when we clearly are not), to entice people to come into our country, and then be bombarded by arduous, senseless visa and immigration issues, a lack of gun control, and perpetual white supremacy that says that as long as you are not a white person in our society, you will never attain success as easily. You’ll always be seen as a black person or a Tibetan person or a yellow person. That’s what you are first and foremost.
I watched Jon Stewart’s clip on the Charleston shootings, and it resonated with me because that’s exactly how I feel. We will look at this incident of church goers being shot and killed during prayer as a tragedy, as a hate crime, but zilch will come of it because of politics, as Obama says. Nothing will change — at least, not in the near future. You and I may want change, but we have lots of neighbors who refuse to admit that guns are a problem here, that racism still persists, and turn a blind eye to all these deaths as long as their own loved ones are untouched by these terrors.
As a country, we’re so f*cked up.