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Dear Ms. Mary…

Dear Ms. Mary,

I want to reintroduce myself. My name is Melih Onvural, and we met almost 25 years ago in a small town called Cary, NC. I even remember how you introduced yourself – “My name is Mary. My husband’s name is Terry. And we live in Cary”. I was 9. And I don’t think you hated me then. Why do you hate me now?

If you remember, we were neighbors for 10 years. I grew up playing Monopoly and doing math homework at your kitchen table. The one time I remember my parents taking some time off for themselves, I stayed at your house. You might remember my parents. Muslim immigrants from Turkey who came to America and built their own American Dream.

Raif Onvural at ODTU Graduation 1983
Raif Onvural at ODTU Graduation 1983

You see, I feel the need to re-introduce myself because over the last year or so, you’ve filled my Facebook feed with alt-right political rhetoric as if you’ve never known an immigrant; or a Muslim; or someone who scraped, crawled, and fought their way from the bottom to the top of the hill known as America.

But you have – me.

Melih Onvural - Senior Prom 2003
Melih Onvural – Senior Prom 2003

And – very consistently – over the last year you’ve posted your political rhetoric, and I’ve stayed silent. I figured that your candidate couldn’t win, and that I shouldn’t soil our relationship with political bickering. I was wrong about the former. And you didn’t give me the courtesy of the latter, and so I have to remind you of a few things tonight.

(1) Your candidate said that he wants me and my parents to not be a part of the American fabric. Either he actually means it, which makes him and you bigots, or he said it only to rally up the crowd which makes him a liar.

If it’s the former, then your years of speaking down at me for not being Christian are a farce. Christ isn’t a bigot. And as a follower of Christ you must love all of His children, and leave judgement to our Creator on the Day of Judgement. These are the words He spoke in the Sermon on the Mount. These are things you taught me. In your kitchen. In the life we shared together. As neighbors.

If it’s the latter, then you’ve been conned. And you’ve allowed a con man to become your false prophet – once again betraying the very values you claim to live by.

(2) Your candidate has encouraged white supremacists to come out of the shadows in which they were hiding, and refused to repudiate them.

By supporting this man, you’ve made the world less safe for my children. Here’s a picture of my mixed-race children. They’re 5, 4, and 1.5 years old. They have a British mom, and a Turkish dad. Their last name is one that no one can pronounce. Instead of looking into my feed, and wondering about the world looks like for these kids when hate is allowed out of the shadows, you openly invited hate, and pushed us into the shadows.

Onvural Family at bedtime
Onvural Family at bedtime

How can I possibly bring them to North Carolina now knowing that the KKK has been empowered to stand back up? How can I send them to their grandmother’s house for the summer not knowing if they’ll be safe or not? You have grandchildren. Why would you create a world that is less safe for them than the one in which your own children grew up?

(3) Your candidate has firmly laid down a layer of concrete over the glass ceiling of equal opportunity that every woman in my family has fought for.

Nur Onvural - Women of Western Wake 2016
Nur Onvural – Women of Western Wake 2016
Micky Onvural
Micky Onvural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why should these women have opportunities closed to them? Why as a grandmother and a mother of an incredible young girl should they think that her opportunities will be less than those of the boys in their lives? Your candidate – and the masses who voted him in – make them believe that. Should your granddaughter have fewer opportunities just because she doesn’t have a penis?

I think somewhere along the line you forgot that the names and labels that you were raging against were people. People with lives, destinies, hopes, and dreams. My family. Your neighbors.

Your vote – and the votes of millions of other Americans – told these people – my people – that we don’t matter.

As much as I thought the best solution was to turn you off, I’ve realized that that’s wrong. I’m not going to unfriend you. I’m going to fill your news feed with the pictures, stories, accomplishments, and journeys of these people.

Because we’re not a faceless mass. We’re not Skittles in a fucking bowl. We are America – the best parts of it. And we want you to be part of our story too.

Published in just thinking out loud

  • jansand

    The only Americans who are not or did not derive from immigrants were the original Native Americans and those who lead and run the USA have traditionally starved, tortured, enslaved, cheated and massacred these native peoples from the first time the Europeans and others came to the continent and still treat them badly today. As a US citizen who is deeply ashamed of this horrific behavior I can only sympathize with others who are simply human beings who evolved on a planet that welcomed them and gave them the means to leave anywhere on the planet.

  • Hello Thank you very much is very

  • Rose

    Brilliant – your comments bring reality right back home. And I do hope you and your children stay safe despite the wicked con man and liar about to be in charge of the US.

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  • J

    Would you post some of your thoughts in my new blog. I created a blog/open forum to hear from people on Hot topics. Its anonymous to allow for real authentic opinions without limit.
    It is https://takethefloorblog.wordpress.com/
    Thanks for posting this. I loved the insight!

  • William Hill

    Mr. Onvural, you are more on an American than many. I would be proud to have you as a neighbor. May you and yours stay safe and be well.

  • jay adams

    Actually jansand they were settlers, not immigrants. There’s a big difference. They built the society that immigrants can now move to and enjoy.
    Regarding your third point: Trump succeeded in large part because of three brilliant, super-tough, ultra-effective women: KellyAnne Conway, Katrina Pierson, and Ivanka Trump. KellyAnne Conway is the first winning female campaign manager. Hillary destroyed the glass ceiling this year even though she didn’t win. No one seriously argued that she was unfit for the job because of her gender –I’d say we owe her a debt of gratitude for being the first candidate to succeed in that way.
    The people that elected Obama are the same ones that decided the election for Trump. You’re saying they elected a black man twice and now suddenly became racists?
    Calling people racists doesn’t work anymore, Mr. Onvural. If you disagree with someone, you must engage with them in debate and try to persuade them. The days of decent Americans being cowed by the label racist are over.

  • Fleur

    It’s beautiful

  • Fleurs

    La sagesse lance un appel
    L’intelligence élève la voix
    Entendez-vous ?

  • Mert Esin

    Your article has touched me deep inside. I must confess that it made my eyes fill with a few tears while I was reading it though I am an Atheist.

  • Gallivant

    @disqus_OCppPR0u0N:disqus Agreed!

  • Heather gibbs

    If what you say is true, and race has absolutely nothing to do with it, than why didn’t Trump win the popular vote? Obama won the popular vote both times he won. Hillary won the popular vote. It would have been very simple for Trump to say “I disavow the KKK.” Why didn’t he do that?

  • Heather gibbs

    Melih,
    As an American who put in hours and hours to Clinton’s campaign, also money out of my own, middle class pocket, I know that I will never know what it feels like to be outside of my safe, white skin. I don’t know how you feel. Not really.
    I promise you this. If you and your family, the LGBTQ community, women or anyone else Trump has targeted in the past is targeted by him as POTUS, our wrath will be swift and without mercy. I stand by your side, now and always.

  • Mike Williams Jr

    If you are unable to see, or unwilling to see, that racism played a role in the outcome of this election, then your head is very firmly in the sand. As the author stated, Trump’s candidacy has “encouraged white supremacists to come out of the shadows”. This isn’t to say that everyone that voted for Trump was racist, as you are twisting his words to imply, there were many reasons people voted for Trump. But he’s making a point based in fact. The evidence is there, all over the news, and even on the websites owned and run by the white supremacists themselves. Trump’s campaign emboldened these people. Trump chose to turn a blind eye in order to not alienate even a single voter. You can refuse to acknowledge it, but reality is reality. This doesn’t make you a racist, and it doesn’t make every Trump supporter one. But to some degree, the acceptance of the candidate backed by such elements, does make you complicit in giving power to the people who are.

  • Kristina Steiner

    I loved this post. And I agree with you. It’s sad that this man was given a platform and it’s tragic that he has received the presidency.

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  • Patriotic Defender

    Well I have to say something to this. You’re wrong about President Elect Trump and his supporters However, it seems you have swallowed every lie told about Mr. Trump.

    Let me address you first point. He has never said Muslims had no place in the American fabric. What he does desire is to make sure that our system works to properly vet refugees from Muslim countries where extremist could and have abused that crisis to get terrorist into other countries. So he desires to stop that from happening in American. Not sure how that is an issue. Mr. Trump does business with Muslims from around the world so why would he desire to not have any around?

    Your statement about Trump and women is also inaccurate. Why would a man who (as you claim and others claim) who hates women and does’t want them to have powerful jobs give them those jobs. First look at who his campaign manager was when he won the election. A woman! In fact the first woman to EVER have that accomplishment but that seems to get over looked. What about all the other women that he has in high level positions within his companies? Women who aren’t just white either (considering the narrative that Trump is racist and sexist) have these positions.

    Outside of believing the rhetoric of the left I am not even sure how you believe Trump encouraged white supremacist to come out of hiding. Yes Trump is a NATIONALIST not a WHITE NATIONALIST. He believes in America first. Can you tell me what is wrong with desiring to take care of your own people, it’s economy, it’s veterans etc before taking care of people outside the country? What’s wrong with the desire of enforcing the laws of the country? Yes that means secure borders and not allowing people who have violated our laws to get rewarded for it by blanket amnesty. What exactly is wrong or racist about that?

    I am sorry you feel the way you do but I believe you have been duped by a media and a campaign that tried there best to destroy a man who truly had no reason to run for President outside of his desire to help all Americans and fix issues that definitely exist in this country.

  • Patriotic Defender

    David Duke an EX Klan member endorsed Trump and Trump did disavow that endorsement. A current Grand Dragon (there is video evidence) of the Klan endorsed Hillary Clinton and the Mainstream Media glossed over it like it was nothing. Because apparently Trump is racist for someone who supposedly supports him but Clinton is not. And Clinton received money for her campaign from the Klan and never returned it. So whose actions sounds more racist to you.

  • Patriotic Defender

    please we still don’t know who won the popular vote. You can’t find enough sources with the same results to determine that. I just looked it up for my blog and couldn’t find anyone to agree with each other even on the total number of electoral votes. He is right though that it would have taken a lot of the people who voted for Obama the past two times to have voted for Trump in order for this outcome to have happened. There are many people out there from the African-America, Hispanic, LGBT communities etc that voted for Trump. Continue to show their support for him on social media even with video. So do you believe that all these people voted for someone that they believe is against them as the Clinton Campaign the Mainstream Media claim he is?

    As for your KKK statement. He did disavow David Duke and his campaign disavowed support from the Klan paper. So it was disavowed at least twice. What did Hillary do with the endorsement from the Grand Dragon who is still currently in the KKK where as David Duke is not? What did she do with the campaign contribution that came in from the KKK? To the best of my knowledge she never gave it back. What does that tell you? OR does that mean nothing?

  • Colton

    To say that Trump was elected because of racism is crazy in the least form of the word. Maybe they elected Trump because they had no other option besides Clinton. Trump was elected because Americans are sick of politicians, and because Americans are sick of corruption. I hate voters being labeled as racist. If voters are racist, why is Obama in office? Trump is not racist when saying he doesn’t want illegal aliens or Muslim refugees. He is trying to protect the country. I’m not against allowing Muslims in to the USA, I’m against allowing terrorists in to the country. Hillary’s supporters need to quit being poor losers. Wasn’t Clinton talking about building bridges and tearing down walls? My suggestion to you is to go meet your neighbors who voted for Trump. You will soon see that bigotry wasn’t the reason for them voting for Trump. They are attempting to live the American dream just like you are.

  • I never said he was elected because of racism. I said that in electing him those who voted with him are complicit in bringing racists, sexists, and other bigots out of the shadows, and giving them a stronger voice in our society.

    His own actions, and lack of actions, led to that state.

    The actions of those who voted for him demonstrate that they willfully chose to ignore those things.

    When I do talk to those neighbors they’re usual refrain is *hoping* that his campaign rhetoric turns to common sense now that he’s in office. That’s quite a hail mary to depend upon.

  • If you can provide evidence that those things happened, then I’ll investigate.

    I’m happy to see facts, and dig into those facts, and welcome the opportunity to learn more about what you’ve said here.

  • You make some good points here, and a few that I disagree with. On the notion that he isn’t focused on White Supremacy let’s look at both his Chief Strategist

    If you jump to 40 seconds into this video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsieTbCeBhs – you will see that President-Elect Trump does not rule out asking all Muslims to register in a national database:

    When directly asked about a situation with xenophobic tones, he did not stand up for American values, and instead had no answer.

    You’re right that his campaign manager was a woman, and that he clearly empowered her to help lift him up to where he won the election. Kudos to him there. You’d also be right to point out that if Peter Thiel joined his cabinet that he’d have an openly gay man in his cabinet as well.

    He may be more liberal than many evangelical Republicans had hoped on certain cultural issues.

    However, he is continuing to demonstrate that the people surrounding him are going to be the ones who surrounded him during the campaign, and in doing so he continues to embolden the racist, xenophobic elements of society.

    Look no further than this victory parade by the NC (my home state) chapter of the KKK – http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-updates-trail-guide-kkk-trump-north-carolina-1478822255-htmlstory.html

  • Thank you for reading.

  • I didn’t say he was elected by racists. I said that he’s empowered racists and xenophobes to come out of the shadows, and continue the scare/intimidation tactics they used in the 50s and 60s against minorities and immigrants.

    I think this victory parade by the KKK in my home state of NC says enough – http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-updates-trail-guide-kkk-trump-north-carolina-1478822255-htmlstory.html

    Even if the GOP and Trump Campaign disavow these acts, the courage these individuals have is because of the statements he made (and didn’t make) over the course of the campaign.

    Also, this blog post is an opening statement in a conversation. I’m glad you’re here to be part of it. I hope we can continue that tradition.

  • So I can’t say that I’m not part of the tradition which has in many ways mistreated Native Americans. If you’re a US citizen, then this is your history.

    However, I will be part of the tradition that helps bring a 21st century America to bear, and I look forward to it being one where the melting pot concept feels for balanced in its color, tone, and texture.

  • jansand

    I find it grossly odd that the accident of my birth in Manhattan can impose upon me the entire long history of the viciousness of those in control of US policies towards subject peoples, not only within US borders but those millions slaughtered meaninglessly in East Asia and in the Middle East and under the ferociously nasty South American dictators such as Peron installed with CIA enthusiasm. Am I responsible for the KKK or the idiocy of G.W.Bush? Your fantasies of responsibility are rather extraordinary.

  • No, I disagree.

    I’m saying that we need to be aware that no history is perfect, but also that we all have a history. I think that there are many who forget that they came from somewhere at some point.

    They forget that once upon a time their great-grandfathers were in the situation that I find myself in today.

    And that what made this country great is that even through those rough patches groups came together and solved it.

  • jansand

    My great grandfathers came from somewhere in central Europe and I am no more responsive to or responsible for whatever motivations they might have had than I am directly connected to the small mammal that evolved into a primate that evolved into their direct ancestor. My mother’s family lived in Budapest and that area fell under the Hun invasion and there seems to be something physical relating to people of Asia there. I feel no responsibility to their mental inclinations either.

  • Mike Williams Jr

    Do you not read before you comment? Just checking.

  • Ilona Baranovskaya

    Thank you for sharing that. Trump is a business man, he supports able people that do their job well regardless of their race. Also in he has mentioned several times about traveling and spending time in Muslim countries, in fact he was impressed with the architecture in Dubai, and has called in our nation to fix some of the airports that are falling apart in NY and other cities.

  • Mike Williams Jr

    Clearly it’s a running theme amongst people like you to not thoroughly read what someone posts and comment anyway.

  • redmerica.co

    My only response to your post is to say that you are grossly misinformed. I understand how you would be angry about what one person on your
    Facebook feed preached, but please don’t lump everyone that voted for
    Trump into the same category. It’s become obvious to the world that
    there are a small group of people, cry babies, some violently pissed
    that they lost this election. How do they respond? By wanting the
    Electoral College eliminated. This is America, a Republic, not a pure
    Democracy, and it doesn’t work that way here. Just because some sick
    group like the KKK likes Trump means nothing. The New Black Panther
    Party supported Obama and went as far as interfering with voters during
    his election. Did you bitch about that too? Get your facts right and
    educate yourself sugar britches. Trump is not a racist. Of course it
    would help if you actually knew the definition of the word. Words do
    have meaning. Trump is your President now because a majority of states
    elected him. The popular vote doesn’t work unless you want mob rule, a
    pure Democracy. That will never happen here. I might suggest you do
    something better with your time and get off of Facebook. It’s a cesspool
    of lies and the last place you should go to get legitimate information
    about anything.

  • Thanks for reading my post.

    I never claimed that Donald Trump himself was racist. I said three things, and I have, through the comments on this post, given examples where he said all three. They are –

    (1) That he didn’t want Muslims to be part of the American fabric. He has said multiple times that he wants to limit the entry of, register, and take away the civil liberties of Muslims (both immigrants and Muslim Americans). Thankfully, those involved in his transition have come out and said that most of this won’t happen. This makes him a con-man, but thankfully not a bigot.

    (2) That his rhetoric has encouraged racist groups to emerge from the shadows, and more openly work towards intimidating minorities in their communities. This is clearly happening – especially as known white nationalists such as Bannon continue to get high profile jobs in his administration.

    (3) His misogynistic views on woman will limit the opportunities presented to women. On this one, I don’t know if this is true or not. I know he said some awful things about how he treats women. I know he’s a womanizer. I know that if my daughter were with a man like this, I’d have serious reservations about the health of the relationship. Whether this actually ends up limiting women or not we will see with time.