Trumpism Is, Perhaps Unsurprisingly, Turning Children Into Little Racist Shitheads
Image via Getty.
Apologies for the nausea I’m about to bring into your life,
though you probably saw this coming: child bullies are using
Trump’s statements to ostracize their peers, particularly those
who are not white.
BuzzFeed has an extensively reported piece
on more than 50 incidents across the country of children and
teens from kindergarten through 12th grade hurling racist
invective at their classmates of color—an occurrence not unique
to the Trump era but increased because of it—as reported by
school districts to ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project. In each
of those incidents, Trump’s name was invoked, whether in the
context of how his presidency will change the circumstance of
the student of color—“You’re going to be deported” to a
Filipino 8th grader in San Antonio, for instance—or simply on
the basis of his name in and of itself, which has apparently
become a single-syllable shorthand for xenophobia and white
supremacy even for young people:
In a stadium parking lot in Jacksonville, Florida, after a
high school football game, white students chanted at black
students from the opposing school: “Donald Trump! Donald
Trump! Donald Trump!”
The incidents BuzzFeed collected didn’t just occur in states
where Trump won; they were documented in even “liberal” cities
that overwhelmingly voted against him, proving that his
rhetoric is pervasive and damaging beyond his frenzied
supporter rallies. Educators in the school districts where such
incidents occurred described to BuzzFeed difficulties with
explaining to students why such invective was wrong without
treading upon their political freedoms—and yet therein lies the
rub, doesn’t it?
Over her 10 years as a middle school English teacher in
Spokane Valley, Washington, Amanda Mead liked to shift her
curriculum based on current events. She assigned readings
from the civil rights era when protests roiled Ferguson in
2014. In 2012 and 2008, her classroom discussions often
turned to the presidential election.
“We’d talk about Bush, Obama, McCain, et cetera, and the kids
would just nod their heads,” Mead said. “But as the campaign
heated up last year, I started to notice a pretty significant
change among my kids. They would say things that I have never
heard kids in my school district say. Far more vitriolic.”
She caught a group of white students following a Latino
student in the hallway, taunting him with chants of “the
wall’s coming!” and “Trump! Trump! Trump!” She overheard kids
repeating insults Trump had aimed at Hillary Clinton.
While some teachers and experts cited chalked up the bullying
to simple trolling or mimicking what they heard at home—an
excuse that, frankly, doesn’t do much to assuage the
dismay—BuzzFeed also reminds us that these bullies will be
eligible to vote one day.
Full piece is here.