On June 24, 2016, comedian Aziz Ansari penned an essay in The New York Times on Donald Trump's Islamophobia.

Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Peabody.

It's filled with heart, common sense, and cold, hard facts.

All of which are, you know, the most obvious attributes lacking from the reality-TV-star-turned-presumptive-GOP-nominee's increasingly perplexing campaign for the White House.


Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

The essay, "Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family," nails several points about why Trump's candidacy is so dangerous and how it's directly harming many Americans.

"Today, with the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels," Ansari wrote. "It’s visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray. It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense."

Every word is worth the read. But here are three main takeaways from Ansari's essay.

1. Trump's Islamophobic policy platforms are ludicrous. And Ansari has the math to prove it.

"The overwhelming number of Muslim Americans have as much in common with that monster in Orlando as any white person has with any of the white terrorists who shoot up movie theaters or schools or abortion clinics."

Citing data that suggests the number of U.S. Muslims with potential ties to terrorism barely registers above 0%, Ansari spells out why Trump's baseless Muslim travel ban proposition not only paints families like his own as more dangerous — it's completely nonsensical.

Really, if we're going to be fearful of Muslims, we should probably be just as scared of white guys (at least, according to, you know, data).

2. White people can't know what it feels like to bear the brunt of Trump's racist rhetoric, Ansari explains.

"I asked a young friend of mine, a woman in her 20s of Muslim heritage, how she had been feeling after the attack. 'I just feel really bad, like people think I have more in common with that idiot psychopath than I do the innocent people being killed,' she said. 'I’m really sick of having to explain that I’m not a terrorist every time the shooter is brown.'"

Believing that Muslims inherently have an extra responsibility to condemn terrorism to prove they're not part of the problem is flat-out wrong. We don't ask white Christians to apologize for the Westboro Baptist Church — why should we demand apologies from 3.3 million American Muslims

Trump's blanket statements grouping everyone of a single faith with extremism have real effects. They play into the message of actual terrorists that seek to drive a rift between the West and Islam, validated by Islamophobic violence.

No one should feel forced to apologize for a stranger's acts they had nothing to do with.

3. When it comes to a more level-headed method in preventing terrorism than barring Muslims? Ansari suggests letting fewer military-style weapons get into the wrong hands.

"Suspected terrorists can buy assault rifles, but we’re still carrying tiny bottles of shampoo to the airport. If we’re going to use the 'they’ll just find another way' argument, let’s use that to let us keep our shoes on."

Lawmakers may detest terrorism, but they seem to hate taking on the National Rifle Association even more.

Despite the fact that military-style guns were used in the mass shootings in Orlando, San Bernardino, and Sandy Hook, and despite a recent filibuster and 24-hour sit-in in the House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., still has yet to push through any substantial gun control measures to help curb the violence.

Trump presents a unique form of bigotry we haven't seen in a presidential race in quite some time. We need more people like Ansari calling it like it is.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Peabody Awards.

"The vitriolic and hate-filled rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump isn’t so far off from cursing at strangers from a car window," Ansari explains.

And the last thing we need is a bigoted driver with road rage behind the wheel in the White House for the next four years. 

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.