With last month’s election results, the Bay Area’s bubble of inclusivity has burst.
In a place that prides itself with freedom, liberty and diversity of thought, the Bay Area saw the shocking rise of someone whose ideals have challenged the core of what has made America great.
Branham sees itself as a welcoming community for all genders, races, sexual orientations and groups. It may not be surprising that compared to other areas in the country, Branham is a very openly liberal school. Its clubs represent the liberal student majority: the Gay-Straight Alliance, Latino Student Union, Days for Girls, Ambition and several more groups seek to be a safe place for students. Link Crew embraces transgender students and tells their leaders to use correct pronouns. Same-sex couples are welcomed to school dances. Best Buddies recently dedicated a week to end the “R word.”
Why then, can’t we accept students who supported Mr. Trump? Though far from being persecuted like the groups who feel targeted by the incoming Trump administration, students who are open Trump supporters have been shouted down in the classroom for expressing their support of the controversial billionaire.
Branham, and the Bay Area at large have created an ecosystem where we claim to support different ideas, as long as they fit our worldview. And when others threaten that unique perspective, is it right to shut them out?
The liberal Bay Area culture to some may be a place of comfort, yet others who seek a place inside may find themselves unwelcome.
With the victory of an unpopular man (at least at Branham), comes some mourning, but with mourning comes reflection.
It’s important to recognize that yes, the Bay Area is a giant oasis for different cultures, genders and orientations to express themselves. But we must also recognize that there are other areas in our community that hold values in direct contrast to ours.
Sometimes we do not realize this, instead choosing to remain ignorant to these communities. In acknowledging their perspective, we might be able to find common ground.
Our future leader has taught his supporters that it’s okay to express ignorant opinions and disregard the rights and feelings of minorities, and that it’s okay to lash out at your detractors.
By trying to understand his supporters and through an open dialogue, we may eventually be able to pull them into our bubble.