He Pretended to Shoot Me While Yelling "Fucking Latino"

By Jordy Rodriguez (Harvard College Undergraduate)

I thought last night was going to be like any other night in Cambridge.

I was in my college’s 24hr library studying for my midterm exam when I got hungry. It is normal for any student to decide to go to Tasty Burger, the nearest place to get food past midnight on a weekday, so at about 2am I decided to go grab a burger. On my way, I encountered two friends who were on their way back from Tasty Burger. We say hi, ask how one another is doing, and part ways. While I walked away, I saw a man who was obviously drunk yelling incoherent sentences while losing his balance, which isn’t unusual in Harvard Square. I cross the street and as I passed by the man, he pretended he was carrying a rifle. He clocked the rifle. He pretended to shoot me, while yelling, “Fucking Latino.” The only safe thing I could do was ignore it and walk away. So I did. While at Tasty Burger, I check my phone and the friend I ran into had messaged me telling me to text her when I get back on campus. She saw what had happened.

This afternoon I ran into the same friend who saw me last night. She began crying and hugged me, while telling me she had been worried something was going to happen to me last night.

Last night wasn’t like any other night in Cambridge. Though I wish to believe last night was an isolated incident, others’ experiences nationwide tell me otherwise. But let’s say what happened to me last night was an isolated incident. What makes me livid is not, in part, the fact that racism exists—we all know it exists. What makes me livid is the fact that Donald Trump being elected president validates racism and the marginalization of entire groups of people. About half of America decided to elect hatred into the White House. I’m not very political, but I cannot keep quiet after directly seeing how much politics and bigoted rhetoric has affected me and the people I care about in the span of 24hrs. These are merely the repercussions. This is real. This is now. And this is not the America we envisioned.