Sunday, November 27, 2016

Schools Protest Against Trump Trauma

No mandate exists that forces Americans to stop their protest and resistance to a Trump presidency. There has been an outpouring of opposition to President-elect Donald Trump, especially from students young and old. Now, supporters of Trump call upon an end to this unrest. Yet, public schools and colleges have long been the front line of many of the nation’s most important societal battlegrounds.
Jeff Bryant of says ...
Much of the class conflict that ignited during the Great Depression and spawned the New Deal was foretold by the challenges schools faced in educating the massive influx of poor, uneducated immigrant children into the country in the early decades of the 20th century.

In the 1950s and 60s, school desegregation was an epicenter in the Civil Rights Movement that produced landmark Supreme Court decisions such as Brown v Board of Education and Schwann v Charlotte-Mecklenberg.

Today, public schools – where non-white students outnumber their white peers and a majority live in poverty – are the nascent sign of the increasing diversity and inequality in the country. It’s no coincidence that the current Supreme Court case considering the rights of transgender individuals in public places arose from an incident in a public school.

So public schools, as long as they stay truly public, are often the first institutions to reflect society’s most important social changes. In this new era under the oncoming Trump regime, student protests are telling us something is very wrong.”

(Jeff Bryant. “What Student Protests Tell Us About America Under Trump.” November 18, 2016.)

What are the students saying?
  • They feel unsafe.
  • They feel they “don't have a say” and they want “to be heard.”
  • They feel they are protesting against hate.
  • They feel Trump doesn't “represent them.”
  • They feel Trump represents bigotry, hate, and division in America.

Trump Has Brought Trauma to Schools

There is little doubt that Trump's campaign and subsequent election have brought trauma into public education at all levels. Much of that is based on Trump's racist, xenophibic, misogynistic messages according to Emily Bazelon of The New York Times and senior research fellow at Yale Law School. 
“The country has elected a man who threaded racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic messages and mockery of disabled people through his campaign,” Emily Bazelon writes in the The New York Times. “Donald J. Trump’s victory gives others license to do the same.”

Bazelon explains that Trump targeted for insults and inflammatory rhetoric those “being non-white, gay, or disabled” and those “most apt to be bullied and abused” in schools. As proof that these attacks have dramatically increased since Trump's election, sources cite new incidents being “out of control.”

Edwin Rios of Mother Jones reports ...

“In the week since Donald Trump's election, a rash of racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic incidents—from chants of "Build that wall!" to swastika graffiti—have surged inside classrooms, on college campuses, and in communities around the country.

“As of Monday (November 14), the Southern Poverty Law Center had collected more than 400 allegations of election-related intimidation and harassment nationwide. The SPLC has been sounding the alarm for months about the so-called 'Trump effect' in America's schools—the rise of classroom bullying and harassment driven, at least in part, by the antagonistic rhetoric of the presidential campaign—and more than one-third of the incidents it has tracked took place at K-12 schools or universities.”

(Edwin Rios. “Bullying in Schools Is Out of Control Since Election Day.” Mother Jones. November 16, 2016.)

Hate Speech

Afro-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, Asians, women, gays, lesbians, transgenders – Trump has slandered them all with vicious verbal attacks in the name of fighting against political correctness. Taking his hatred to heart, bigots and racists are mounting new campaigns they believe have the support of the president-elect.

For example, at Texas State University, police confirmed they are investigating reports of threatening fliers posted on campus by alleged supporters of president-elect Donald Trump.
The fliers depict men in camouflage, wielding guns and an American flag. They appeared in men’s restrooms throughout Texas State University: “Now that our man Trump is elected,” they said. “Time to organize tar and feather vigilante squads and go arrest and torture those deviant university leaders spouting off that diversity garbage.”

(Caitlin Dickerson and Stephanie Saul. “Campuses Confront Hostile Acts Against Minorities After Donald Trump’s Election.” The New York Times. November 10, 2016.)

In addition to hyping up race- and gender-based harassment and abuse, Trump’s campaign rhetoric has put many immigrants in fear of being deported or having members of their families abducted by the state.

The Protests

Donald Trump won the election in the Electoral College, but he did not win the popular vote. The nation remains divided. Many people still do not trust him or his appointed cabinet to lead the nation. Although now he tells his supporters to stop spreading hatred, those same supporters tell opponents to “suck it up, buttercup,” as if those who still question Trump must respond upon command. In truth, Trump and his proponents cannot easily undo the damage caused by their vicious remarks.

In the face of those who call them “thugs” and “criminals,” students positively engage in the process of peaceful protest against a Trump presidency. They have many legitimate reasons for expressing unrest. As they assemble to draw attention to their cause, they put real faces and important voices in action. Their protests invite persuasion and encourage change.

Senator Bernie Sanders says …

“People are angry. People are upset. And they want to express their point of view that they are very frightened, in very, very strong disagreement with Mr Trump, who has made bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign.

“I think that people are saying, ‘Mr Trump, we have come too far in this country fighting discrimination and bigotry. We’re not going back. And if you’re going to continue that effort, you’re going to have to take us on.’”

(Shehab Kahn. “Bernie Sanders supports anti-Donald Trump protests: 'People are angry.'” The Independent. November 14, 2016.)

Soon, the oath of office will be administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, a fellow-Republican whom Trump has described as a “disaster” and a “nightmare” because of the Supreme Court’s rulings to uphold the Affordable Care Act. So, don't expect the protests to end anytime soon. Trump will face many others whom he lambasted with cruel and unusual ferocity. His words will haunt him as he keeps calling upon these people to unify behind his leadership.


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