The Importance of Education and Knowledge

By Chengru Long (Harvard College Undergraduate)

Let’s be honest: when Donald Trump first announced he was running for president, we all thought it was a joke. It seemed like just another one of his ploys for publicity. And when he got the Republican nomination, I laughed because this meant Hillary had secured the presidency. Even as the first polls closed, I joked about the possibility of Donald Trump winning. As the night wore on, laughter soon turned into fear and ultimately ended in tears. 

The scariest part of Trump winning the presidency was knowing that millions of Americans shared the same hateful views on the LGBTQ+ community, women, Muslims, and immigrants. My family and I immigrated to the United States over a decade ago, and it hurts to know that so many Americans are anti-my family and anti-me. 

A person close to me actually expressed his anti-immigrant views to me after the election. When I asked him why, his reasoning was completely based off untrue information. This really made me realize the importance of education and knowledge.

So many ignorant comments on immigrants derive from misconceptions, so I want to briefly debunk some common myths:

“Immigrants are stealing our jobs.” False. There is a higher demand for low-paying jobs than Americans are supplying. Americans are either unwilling to take these jobs or have skills that qualify them for higher-paying jobs.

“Immigrants bring crime.” False. There are so many studies that show that immigrants are far less likely than native born Americans to commit crimes. An increase in immigration actually correlates to a decrease in crime rates.

“Undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes but still get government benefits.” False. Undocumented immigrants actually pay billions in taxes every year and do not qualify for welfare.

It is scary to know how many people are willing to accept any information presented to them without researching the facts themselves and then forming their opinions around false information. However, we shouldn’t be distancing ourselves from these people with hateful views. Instead, it should be our goal to educate these people and to ultimately work together towards reform. 

I believe in the good in people and I am optimistic about change; however, in this moment, I am still in a daze. A Trump presidency started out as a joke to me, so I am working towards processing the results. However, deep down, I’m still waiting for the punchline.