I was adopted out of Moscow, Russia as an infant (before the age of one). My adoptive parents always told me growing up “you are adopted from Russia”. It was never a secret in my family. I am twenty-five years old and have never been back to Russia. However, with that said, I have always felt a strong connection to the country. I love Russia, the good, the bad, the ugly. Every country has its skeletons and dark periods in history. Every, single, country.
And then, the 2016 election happened. Rumors spread feverishly about Russia’s interference with the election. A hatred towards the Russian country and its people spread like an inferno. I live in the deep south, a place known to be rather Republican.
According to the official census, only about 10% of the population in the town I live has obtained a bachelor’s degree (or higher degree such as a graduate degree). About 5% don’t even have a high school degree (about 94% have a diploma or GED as their highest level of education). Sadly, with the normal attitudes I see in my town, I see that reflected in their political beliefs. According to a poll conducted in 2017 by PEW RESEARCH CENTER, 54% of college graduates tend to see themselves as some type of democrat. While 54% is not that much greater than 50%, the smallest percentage can mean the difference when it comes to polls with politics.
With the “DOWN WITH RUSSIA" attitudes that have consumed so many, it can be terrifying being Russian and living in the USA. I have a cute shirt that says “Russian Princess" on it, but I am scared to wear it in public. I am scared to wear it because people have threatened others with damage to personal property and threatened people at gunpoint over a game in my town. Gun violence is an epidemic in the USA. I am not willing to risk being shot because someone sees my shirt and suddenly is filled with rage.