The 2016 Election Felt “Like a Death,” America Ferrera
America Ferrera, the Emmy Award-winning star of Ugly Betty, talks about the ugly realities of racism and sexism that came into full focus during the 2016 presidential campaign.
AMERICA FERRERA: Donald Trump announced his candidacy by calling Mexicans rapists and murderers. And when I heard that, I thought I knew for sure that he could never last, that this country wouldn't stand for that. And nothing happened. He gained support. When he talked about attacking women, I thought, this country won't stand for that. And yet, it did. When he talked about banning Muslims, I thought, this country won't stand for that. I truly, truly, truly believed that that wasn't the identity of this country. So as a woman, as a Latina, as the daughter of immigrants, as an American, it did feel like in a lot of ways a death, a death of an idea that I had built my American identity around.
When I realized that for so many people, they had been living in the reality of this ugly picture of America that we were all so ashamed to see. This version of America has existed long before Donald Trump was even an idea. And that made me realize that there was just work to do, that we couldn't sit on the sidelines and cry and feel sad while there were people who had been working for decades and for generations to address these issues.