Rohit Tallapragada

Rohit Tallapragada

Indian American

1. How are you feeling about this election?

Optimistic, yet sad at the same time in the sense that it has exposed the worst of America. I mean, I’m very optimistic about what Hillary Clinton can do and what she’s capable of in terms of advancing the country forward, but then again I feel like Donald Trump is the ultimate manifestation of every single ignorant, bigoted person that we could ever face. Maybe it’s appropriate that the first woman president has to finally beat down this horrible representation of misogyny, and xenophobia and hate in general, to break the glass ceiling. So I mean, sad in the sense that it has exposed the underbelly of this country, but optimistic in that I’m 100% sure that she’s going to win.

2. How do you think Asian Americans have been portrayed during this election season?

They haven’t been. I mean I’ve seen a handful of articles on how Asian American millennials trend liberal and their growing importance in our generation – the millennial generation. I think I’ve maybe seen three articles on that thing but it’s always the kind of article that’s like, “Here’s the thing you haven’t thought about.” And as much as I’m a supporter of Asian American rights and people paying more attention to us, we’re still not a decisive voting bloc in this country quite yet. We will be soon, probably.
One thing I do want to mention in this context is that there is a handful of Hindu Americans that do support Trump [laughs]. I don’t identify as Hindu American; my family does, my heritage is Hindu, but it’s dispiriting to me that these Hindu nationalists are particularly Islamophobic and therefore pro-Trump. I think some Hindu Nationalists in India are pro-Trump due to this in particular. I don’t know about Hindu Americans in Jersey, though (I’m from Jersey, too).

3. And will you be voting this election?

I already did! I submitted an absentee ballot for New Jersey, clearly for Hillary Clinton [laughs]. It was a paranoid moment for me. I checked the ballot – I mean obviously I would never vote for Donald Trump but I double checked 6 times to make sure I got the bubble exactly right. And it was a point of pride for me – I turned 18 like 20 days after the last election so I haven’t voted for a president before and I’m proud that first of all, I voted for a woman, and second of all I voted for Hillary Clinton.

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