I’m an Asian immigrant. I’m a minority in the United States. And I’m a conservative. But most of all, I’m proud of all of these identities. Every time my liberal friends discover my conservatism, their eyes widen and their faces explode in disbelief. Some liberals tried their best to be polite, but in their glances I could sense their surprise and confusion over my identity as a conservative. Some liberals thought I was joking because they couldn’t fathom that an Asian man or an immigrant can be conservative. Some went as far as accusing me of being on the wrong side solely because my heritage doesn’t align with conservatism, at least in their opinions. While I believe that the aforementioned individuals and others have the right to hold their own judgments on who I am and how I identify myself, I want to stress that conservatism shouldn’t be reduced to one’s gender, race, sexual orientation, status, religion, or other social factors.

Being a minority is not an antonym of conservatism. Take for example, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. She is a woman[1] who holds conservative values. Instead of being considered as a strong candidate in her own might, she is criticized for her pro-life views and often unfairly labelled as anti-woman or anti-feminist. Men can either identify as pro-life or pro-choice, and no one bats an eye. Fiorina, a woman, believes life begins at conception, and as a result, she becomes the subject of scrutiny for “betraying women.” If anything, Fiorina is actually empowering women through her conservative values by asserting that women can be pro-life if they so choose.

Similarly, there are similar ideological stereotypes involving race. For example, Senator Marco Rubio is a Cuban American, and he falls into the racial minority category. Rubio’s conservative views on immigration are often attributed as backstabbing the Hispanic electorate. He is criticized for turning his back on his “people.” However, he is not turning his back on anyone. He was not elected because of his racial identity. He was elected because the people of Florida believe that his conservative abilities, ideas, and values aptly represent the state. If a white man can identify as a liberal without anyone telling him that he betrayed the Republican Party, which apparently is the party of rich white males, then a Hispanic man can hold conservative values despite being a minority.

Let the following examples remind you why it’s completely normal to be both a minority and a conservative. Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, is a known conservative. Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court, is a black man. Former Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona is a homosexual Republican. And here’s the best part: while all five major Democratic presidential nominees for 2016 are white, the Republicans have two Latino-Americans (Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz), one African-American (Ben Carson), and an Indian-American (Bobby Jindal).

Being a minority has its difficulties; it gets frustrating and even disheartening. So, let’s not further frustrate the lives of minority conservatives through judgment, scorn, and slander. Let’s not crucify individuals for holding conservative values that epitomize their identities and much more. Let’s not compartmentalize ideology by race or gender. For fellow minority conservatives out there: do not let society’s idea of the “norm” define you. Do not let society strip you off of your conservative values. Wear your identities with pride and your heads held high. We may be few in number, but we are more than a percentage. Beneath the numbers are our unique stories and complex identities that are deserving of being heard and respected. It’s 2015. Let’s grow up and revere each other’s views.

[1] Women are a majority in terms of population in the United States. However, unfortunately, they are considered a minority population by sociologists because “they tend to have less power and fewer privileges than men” in today’s society.

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