"Why I left Donald Trump's America" - Professor Jerry Flores authors Op-Ed in the Toronto Star

January 5, 2018 by Kathy Tang

Sociology Professor Jerry Flores recently wrote an Op-Ed piece in the Toronto Star, titled "Why I left Donald Trump's America." In the piece he discusses his experiences as a Latino growing up and living in the USA and how the election of Donald Trump to presidency in 2016 influenced his decision to move to Canada. Professor Flores is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching responsibilities at the UTM campus. His research interests include gender and crime, prison studies, Latina/o sociology, and studies of race and ethnicity.

We have posted an excerpt below.

Why I left Donald Trump’s America

By JERRY FLORES | Dec. 22, 2017

...I believed that the U.S. gives everyone a fair chance. And it seemed I was proof: In 2011, I won a prestigious Ford Foundation Fellowship – a full academic ride for my doctoral work. I focused my research on the lives of 50 incarcerated Latina young women in southern California. Three years later, I had earned a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in sociology. I was lucky enough to be offered a job teaching at the University of Washington. I turned my dissertation into a book, Caught UP: Girls, Surveillance and Wraparound Incarceration. I bought a house, and we had our first child before I was 30. I had arrived.

My happiness, however, proved short-lived.

On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump announced he would run to become president of the United States and launched a campaign filled with anti-immigrant rhetoric and divisive policies. Pledges to build a wall along the southern border to prevent Mexicans from “illegally” crossing into the U.S. dominated the news cycle. He vowed to deport millions of undocumented people and ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Civil rights groups reported higher incidents of hate crimes, including against Latinos in southern California. Alt-right rallies took place across the nation. White supremacist fliers, swastikas and other propaganda littered my campus.

On election night, Nov. 9, 2016, I watched anxiously with my wife, as results rolled in. When Wisconsin went red for Republicans, we knew Trump would win. We sat in shock reading our Facebook feeds and lamenting for the futures of our two-year-old and our new-born twins.

Though I had been offered two academic positions at prestigious research universities in the U.S., I knew I would take the third offer: the University of Toronto. Part of me desperately wanted to stay in L.A., surrounded by my family, history and culture.

But I couldn’t bear the idea of having to listen to the President denigrate my parents’ homeland for four long years.

I knew it was time to say good bye to the American dream.

Read the full piece here.