About two years ago, I stumbled upon a hysterical yet shocking article about a high schooler who was accepted to five Ivy League schools with… get this… a prompt about Costco. Five! Including Stanford, whose acceptance rate is lower than any Ivy League school. I am sure her GPA, SAT’s and all the other scores needed for university were outstanding in every way possible, but Costco? I began to rethink my life choices… maybe I shouldn’t have written about my gradual awareness of the obvious racial tensions in this country, and I would’ve been a stellar alumni from Brown University. Regardless, all envy aside, her prompt was impressive and without a doubt, creative.
For as long as I can remember, Costco and I haven’t been the best of friends. Its monstrously vast concrete inside is anything but welcoming. I always attempt to avoid entering or even stepping nearby, for fear of being kept in by its cold tentacles of products I convince myself to need, in large quantities. So I simply avoid it; except for one Monday night, the first Monday night after our most memorable of elections. I dreadfully walked in with my dad with the sole purpose of purchasing a large pizza (sidenote: they have the best pizza). As we waited, I saw a side to Costco I had never seen before. Whether it was because I have been blinded by my dislike or simply put, my world pre-election seemed to be heading into a new wave of progressiveness, the beauty was breathtaking.
As we waited, I saw the future of America, the future so many are trying to stop from advancing. The future that is so beautifully colored and tinted of all shades, interwoven like the threads of brown, caramel, black, white, and gold found in a woman’s hijab. I saw a cracked, beaten, but strong group of immigrants exhausted from their unimaginably hard-days work continuing their shopping, or fighting. What I saw that night was a fascinating mixed America contained within four concrete walls of oppression. An America that can coexist without any prejudice barriers of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, but simply live. In those fleeting minutes, Costco was the America that cannot be stopped. No matter the constant battling and opposition, this glorious melting pot of cultures and immigrants will continue to brew.
I always nagged about this country, while constantly reminiscing in my wonderful childhood memories of Colombia. But last year, when I visited Colombia after 9 years, within two weeks, I missed home. I missed having my life in the U.S. Most importantly, I missed the diversity of the country. The small adventures of finding a glorious hole in the wall restaurants serving delicious foods or the normalcy of seeing 10+ nationalities in a given mall. Needless to say, I came home appreciating this devastating beauty of a country, that fights so hard to resist but cracks from the masses.
We cannot deny, and by “we” I mean all civilians of America, that after our dearest president-elect was voted in, a pandora’s box was opened. One that is nothing but full of aggressive hate and stubborn ignorance. But I’m not here to preach the same repeated commentaries you have so tirelessly scrolled past on social media.
I have tried to be tolerant and understanding these past grueling months because I can’t be completely assertive of my beliefs if I don’t understand others opinions. Yet, these past months, have also been some of the most confusing periods of my life, the more I know the less I understand. I can’t fit into my head how people can support a man (this man needs no introduction) who promotes and ignites the worst in humans and makes it seem *shrugs and pouts like our president-elect* alright. I have consistently believed, and even more so today, that ignorance is the blight of humans. An ignorant human is an adamant blind being broiling to speak their mind while keeping it tightly shut. Alas, the cure for this illness is education. But that’s a rant for another day.