You're Over Exaggerating

An over exaggeration is often a romanticized or stretched version of a basic reality. After the results of the 2016 election were announced, the outcry of marginalized groups was critiqued in varying ways. A strong critique was the thought that such groups were over exaggerating.

My story is not an over exaggeration. As an African American female, my testimony is not a stretched version of a basic reality, if my reality was never basic to begin with. Nigger, dirty due to my skin tone, a target of violence, ignorant because of my loud tone, and the result of “my black life doesn’t matter,” have all been the structure of my reality. My story is not an over exaggeration because my past was never romanticized. My pain, and the pain of other marginalized groups cannot be invalidated and deemed an over exaggeration by individuals with no mutual experience or understanding for the very real realities that define oppression.

For the Muslim women who once proudly wore their hijabs, but have now begun to question and fear for their safety when wearing the hijab because of various resulting hate crimes due to the election, their realities are not an over exaggeration. For the members of the LGBTQ+ and Trans communities that have committed suicide due to the uncertainty of protection in a Trump America, their realities are not over exaggerations. For the victims of sexual assault who now see the face of sexual assault in an office of authority, their realities are not over exaggerations. For undocumented immigrants with an increased fear of deportation, their realities are not over exaggerations. For my Black friends here at Duke and myself, our levels of alertness have risen due to our knowledge that the KKK congregates in the Duke Forest (a forest that Duke inhibits) and our realities are not an over exaggeration. For the other marginalized groups targeted by Trump, know your realities are not an over exaggeration.

Our stories are the result of pain, struggle, and varying forms of oppression. To deem our fears as invalid is to deem our struggles as a romanticized basic reality, or an over exaggeration.