The Stanford campus’ reaction to Trump’s election was dominated by feelings of hopelessness and anger. Facebook newsfeeds on November 8, 2016 were filled with claims about the anti-women, anti-LGBT, and anti-minority implications of the election, often from privileged students who spoke for others. Three months later, Stanford students continue to disagree on whether Trump supporters deserve to be understood. Though many displayed the empathy for which we’ve advocated at the Stanford Review, many still refuse to see Trump supporters as anything other than bigoted white males.
Over the last few months, however, I’ve had the privilege to speak with Stanford’s minority Trump supporters. Because Stanford is overwhelmingly liberal, many whom I reached out to did not even feel comfortable speaking with me. Those that did often requested anonymity, a testament to the fact that this campus is far from truly encouraging open dialogue.
The individuals that I interviewed did not display the least bit of ignorance or prejudice. In fact, they displayed a level of thoughtfulness and intelligence that far surpassed that of the average Stanford student. Their insights send a powerful message about the dangers of homogenization and identity policing, and should force us all to rethink how we regard minority groups on campus, as well as the Stanford students that voted for Trump.
Caleb Shongwe, the only interviewee brave enough to put a face on his opinions, is a black freshman living on east campus. Reading books like Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics attracted him to laissez-faire economic principles, and his faith in fiscal conservatism drew him to the GOP. Caleb remarked that eight years of Obama failed to improve the economic situation of African-Americans, and hopes that Trump’s policies will better empower blacks. (Stanford Review)