Leave Mollie Tibbetts out of your political discussion

Leave Mollie Tibbetts out of your political discussion

Leave Mollie Tibbetts out of your political discussion
September 07
13:10 2018

The murder of Mollie Tibbetts should not be used as an argument for immigration reform or be galvanized as political bait to further incite fear of demographic change in the United States. If anything, her death should rouse those who ignore issues of harassment and acts of violence against women. A young woman’s life is not grounds for political discussion.

Mollie was a 20-year-old psychology major at the University of Iowa. On July 19, the student was reported missing after friends and family were unable to reach her. According to The Washington Post, she was last seen on a run when a man approached and began running beside her on a country road. Mollie told the man she would call the police. The undocumented man convicted of her murder, Cristhian Rivera, says his memory is blocked following this interaction.

As a woman, it’s difficult to watch Mollie’s murder become politicized. Her death was primarily rooted in unwarranted harassment, not immigration issues. Does our presidential administration truly care about violence against women, or is her case exceptional because an undocumented immigrant committed the act?

It is ironic that Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct and harassment by more than 20 women, is using his administration to create anti-immigration propaganda in response to Mollie’s’ death. Would the lack of citizenship of the perpetrator cause the same outcry if he were a European or white immigrant? A video has been resurfaced by the White House in wake of Mollie’s murder, in which families affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants explain their story.

The victims of crimes should be listened to and heard. However, a perpetrator’s identity should not be used as a tactic of fear. If ICE deported every single undocumented person in the United States, we would still have crime, extortion, rape, murder, etc. The act of one individual should never be presented as a reflection of the whole, especially in regards to marginalized groups.

No matter what your personal stance on immigration policies is, it should be addressed that most immigrants are hardworking and influential in American society. Many seek a life devoid of violence or persecution. Using Mollie’s murder as an anti-immigration ad is xenophobic and, quite frankly, racist.

We shouldn’t conflate an action made by an individual of a certain race, religion, ethnicity, gender or any other identity with a whole group of innocent people who identify as the same. This will construct a society rooted in fear and prejudice. This societal discomposure is incredibly dangerous when it is directed toward minorities. In this case, neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups have already exploited Mollie’s murder to spread white nationalist publicity through robocalls.

In response to the politicization of his daughter, Rob Tibbetts wrote his own column for the Des Moines Register. He asks with poise to not appropriate Mollie’s life by giving a platform to a cause Mollie was in opposition against. In his column, he addresses the Latino community with compassion and offers an apology regarding the wrongful blame being presented by media outlets and the presidential administration.

In times of pain and loss, it is easy to allow fear to overwhelm us. As a defense, we create false judgments that offer superficial protection against the unknown. We want so badly to identify the reasons and warning signs so we can prevent tragedy. However, judging skin color, culture and citizenship status will never be the solution.

Mollie’s life deserves to be honored in the ways in which she lived. Do not let her life get lost in the shuffle of governmental agenda.

Featured Illustration: Chelsea Tolin

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madeline chalkley

madeline chalkley

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