I try to focus my blog on my experience as an international PhD student and my research. However, current events in the United States have drawn me in a different direction for this post. At the start of August, another mass shooting plagued a city in the United States. The reports that followed the tragedy were the usual script Americans have become used to hearing after a mass shooting. However, the events that happened in El Paso hurt a little more than it usually would because of my culture. I am Venezuelan-American, so when people attack the Hispanic community, there is a part of me they hate. I genuinely enjoy all aspects of my culture and the people that make up the Hispanic community. Therefore, when I see someone so blatantly want to hurt that community, I don’t quite understand it.
America’s gun problem is unique, and I know it does not make sense to other Western countries. Honestly, it does not make sense to most Americans. I do not know the answer to end this epidemic because our culture is different than many European countries that have gun laws. However, what I do know is that El Paso stemmed from hatred of a community. The Hispanic population in the US is often referred to as "criminals" or "invaders of America" by our president. We have normalised racist rhetoric in the US and passed it off as not being “politically correct”.
I see this happening in the UK as well with the election of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. When we normalise racism, we allow people to feel it is acceptable to say and do hurtful things to a specific community. Racism has not changed much in the past few decades. The fact that media outlets and political leaders are not always naming it is a terrifying turn of events in politics and journalism. Instead of sending my hopes and prays to El Paso and Dayton, I am going to make sure I vote for a candidate that can bring about some type of gun reform in America's next presidential election. The only way Americans can change our gun laws is if we act and continue a conversation about better legislation.
To learn more about ending gun violence in American please check out this link.