Retrospect regrets

Looking back on a flawed year


It’s common knowledge that as we grow older, our naive ignorance of the real world diminishes and is eventually replaced with a more mature awareness of reality. As children, most of us weren’t aware of foreign wars, institutionalized racism or political tensions.

Learning about these and other unfortunate realities is a necessary part of growing up. However, in light of the events of this past year alone, I can’t help but feel that my changing world view is becoming overwhelmingly negative.

I am not usually one to admit despair, but during a time of escalated tension throughout our nation, it’s hard to stay positive. Growing up shouldn’t mean losing hope, but as I reflect on 2016, losing hope seems almost inevitable.

As a privileged white girl, I have never experienced anything comparable to racism. However, this year has shown me racism’s many manifestations: hateful backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement, countless unarmed black men murdered by police and Alt-Right celebration of Donald Trump’s win.

In my life, conservative backlash has never been more hateful and evident than it is now. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 867 incidents of hate crimes or harassment were reported just 10 days after Trump’s win. But why?

Sir Isaac Newton said it best: “For every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction.” America’s progress in recent years is now threatened by the millions of heterosexual white men who feel threatened by that progress.

Much of this backlash is disguised as “All Lives Matter.” “All Lives Matter” is not a movement; it’s a selfish grab for attention by those who cannot accept that the world does not revolve around white people.

Think of it this way: if there is one house that is on fire, the fire department comes to put out the flames. The fire department does not hose down every house on the street. Sure, all of the houses matter, but not all of the houses are burning down.

America is full of people who are angry that all of the houses are not being soaked. America is also full of people who want to see that house burn.

Racism isn’t the only depressing reality to become more evident recently.

Out of context, the election of Trump as our next president would not have taken the hope out of me. Despair comes from the knowledge that Trump won despite Hillary Clinton’s obvious popular vote victory.

Her loss is an insult to democracy: she won the popular vote by over two million, a margin four times greater than Al Gore’s popular vote victory and election loss to George W. Bush in 2000.

I’m not alone in my election-related stress.

According to the American Psychological Association, the 2016 election has been a very significant stress source for over half of Americans.

If Hillary were a man with the same political experience and qualifications as she has now, she would have won.

According to, when men across Pennsylvania and Ohio were interviewed about whether or not they were sexist, they insisted that they were not. The same men voiced discomfort at the possibility of a female president.

I’m not claiming that Clinton’s loss was a result of sexism alone, but this past election has made prejudiced underlying motives in our society more evident. The sexism doesn’t surprise me, but the constant denial of the existence of misogyny in our culture hurts me more than sexism itself.

Racism and political tension aren’t the only two negatives that we face today, but if I were to detail the Syrian refugee crisis and the rest of the apparent chaos of our world, I would take up most of this newspaper.

As a student nearing her high school graduation, I can’t help but worry about diving into the rest of my life in the midst of what feels like an ongoing global crisis.

Rather than growing up and naturally losing childlike naivety, I fear that my generation will become desensitized to the injustices of our era.

There may be countless readers who sympathize with my hopelessness in this moment, but sympathy means nothing if it is forgotten over the next few years.

Hope may still have a chance if we remember why we need to change our world.