I walked out of Phelps Dining Hall the other night looking down at my phone to answer the messages I missed during work. Suddenly, I heard a “meow.” Looking up, I saw that it came from some guy sticking his head out the passenger side window of a red pick-up truck. I looked around and saw no cats in sight. Was this a mistake? They kept driving and I kept walking, shrugging it off as simply weird (maybe even drunk) behavior. Seconds later, I heard it again. This time, the “meow” was not directed at me, but at another girl who was on a night run. When I made it home to tell my roommate, she couldn’t understand why I was so uncomfortable.
“Haven’t you ever been cat-called?” She asked me.
Unfortunately, I have—in a variety of ways. It is undesirable, but not uncommon, to be cat-called. But I have never literally been meowed at. Could this be a revolutionary way of degrading girls by cat-calling with actual “cat-calls,” or a result of Trump’s “grab them by the p***y” ordeal? The possibilities are endless.
This encounter is nothing in comparison to everything else that has been happening on and off the sidewalks of campus. It is truly nothing in comparison to the hateful crimes that people I know have experienced. I’ve been struggling lately to find my place in the chaos that is both our campus and our nation because I am a person who looks very white despite being half Mexican and not at all a supporter of anything Trump. Part of me understands what the minority as a whole is going through and part of me knows that I could never completely grasp it from their view. So where do I stand? Beside my friends. Every day—not just at noon in the Pine Grove.
I’ve felt a wide range of emotions including a good deal of anger on behalf of my loved ones this past week and even this very day. I have heard countless stories that range from name calling, spitting, blatant ignorance and fear that is great enough to consider leaving campus. I want to say that it’s enough to want to leave this country and even this Earth. I want to say that I do not experience anything at the level that others do. Still, I shouldn’t have to know what someone feels in order to know that what they face is not right. Neither should you. I know what’s right and I’ve seen so much wrong this past week. I’m so proud that many have taken up the pain of others and have come to their defense. I’m so ashamed that this is not the thought of all. I know where I stand. Do you?