It's so damned hard not to be proud of our nation and president ...

Dec 2006
New Haven, CT
Trump’s Words, Bullied Kids, Scarred Schools
The president’s rhetoric has changed the way hundreds
of children are harassed in American classrooms

By Hannah Natanson, John Woodrow Cox and Perry Stein Feb. 13, 2020

wo kindergartners in Utah told a Latino boy that President Trump would send him back to Mexico, and teenagers in Maine sneered "Ban Muslims" at a classmate wearing a hijab. In Tennessee, a group of middle-schoolers linked arms, imitating the president's proposed border wall as they refused to let nonwhite students pass. In Ohio, another group of middle-schoolers surrounded a mixed-race sixth-grader and, as she confided to her mother, told the girl: "This is Trump country."

Since Trump’s rise to the nation’s highest office, his inflammatory language — often condemned as racist and xenophobic — has seeped into schools across America. Many bullies now target other children differently than they used to, with kids as young as 6 mimicking the president’s insults and the cruel way he delivers them.

Trump’s words, those chanted by his followers at campaign rallies and even his last name have been wielded by students and school staff members to harass children more than 300 times since the start of 2016, a Washington Post review of 28,000 news stories found. At least three-quarters of the attacks were directed at kids who are Hispanic, black or Muslim, according to the analysis. Students have also been victimized because they support the president — more than 45 times during the same period.

Although many hateful episodes garnered coverage just after the election, The Post found that Trump-connected persecution of children has never stopped. Even without the huge total from November 2016, an average of nearly two incidents per school week have been publicly reported over the past four years. Still, because so much of the bullying never appears in the news, The Post’s figure represents a small fraction of the actual total. It also doesn’t include the thousands of slurs, swastikas and racial epithets that aren’t directly linked to Trump but that the president’s detractors argue his behavior has exacerbated.

“It’s gotten way worse since Trump got elected,” said Ashanty Bonilla, 17, a Mexican American high school junior in Idaho who faced so much ridicule from classmates last year that she transferred. “They hear it. They think it’s okay. The president says it. . . . Why can’t they?”

Asked about Trump’s effect on student behavior, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham noted that first lady Melania Trump — whose “Be Best” campaign denounces online harassment — had encouraged kids worldwide to treat one another with respect.

First lady Melania Trump speaks at the White House in May 2018 about her “Be Best” campaign,
which denounces online harassment. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

“She knows that bullying is a universal problem for children that will be difficult to stop in its entirety,” Grisham wrote in an email, “but Mrs. Trump will continue her work on behalf of the next generation despite the media’s appetite to blame her for actions and situations outside of her control.”

Most schools don’t track the Trump bullying phenomenon, and researchers didn’t ask about it in a federal survey of 6,100 students in 2017, the most recent year with available data. One in five of those children, ages 12 to 18, reported being bullied at school, a rate unchanged since the previous count in 2015.

However, a 2016 online survey of over 10,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade educators by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that more than 2,500 “described specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric,” although the overwhelming majority never made the news. In 476 cases, offenders used the phrase “build the wall.” In 672, they mentioned deportation.

For Cielo Castor, who is Mexican American, the experience at Kamiakin High in Kennewick, Wash., was searing. The day after the election, a friend told Cielo, then a sophomore, that he was glad Trump won because Mexicans were stealing American jobs. A year later, when the president was mentioned during her American literature course, she said she didn't support him and a classmate who did refused to sit next to her.

“‘I don’t want to be around her,’” Cielo recalled him announcing as he opted for the floor instead.

Then, on “America night” at a football game in October 2018 during Cielo’s senior year, schoolmates in the student section unfurled a “Make America Great Again” flag. Led by the boy who wouldn’t sit beside Cielo, the teenagers began to chant: “Build — the — wall!”

Horrified, she confronted the instigator.

“You can’t be doing that,” Cielo told him.

He ignored her, she recalled, and the teenagers around him booed her. A cheerleading coach was the lone adult who tried to make them stop.

“I felt like I was personally attacked. And it wasn’t like they were attacking my character.
They were attacking my ethnicity, and it’s not like I can do anything about that.”

After a photo of the teenagers with the flag appeared on social media, news about what had happened infuriated many of the school’s Latinos, who made up about a quarter of the 1,700-member student body. Cielo, then 17, hoped school officials would address the tension. When they didn’t, she attended that Wednesday’s school board meeting.

“I don’t feel cared for,” she told the members, crying.

A day later, the superintendent consoled her and the principal asked how he could help, recalled Cielo, now a college freshman. Afterward, school staff members addressed every class, but Hispanic students were still so angry that they organized a walkout.

Some students heckled the protesters, waving MAGA caps at them. At the end of the day, Cielo left the school with a white friend who’d attended the protest; they passed an underclassman she didn’t know.

“Look,” the boy said, “it’s one of those f---ing Mexicans.”

She heard that school administrators — who declined to be interviewed for this article — suspended the teenager who had led the chant, but she doubts he has changed.

Reached on Instagram, the teenager refused to talk about what happened, writing in a message that he didn’t want to discuss the incident “because it is in the past and everyone has moved on from it.” At the end, he added a sign-off: “Trump 2020.”

— Cielo Castor

Much much more and video at LINK
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Aug 2019
Albuquerque, NM
What is to be proud of? Since WWII, we have been the bad guys. Killed 100s of thousands, overthrw governments, propped up dictators, responsible for millions of deaths. And then even before that, the history of the country is full of racism, atrocities, brutality, injustices.

The country, like most of humanity, is a disgrace. Seeing so many people proud of being scumbags, that's amazing
Dec 2006
New Haven, CT
What is to be proud of? Since WWII, we have been the bad guys. Killed 100s of thousands, overthrw governments, propped up dictators, responsible for millions of deaths. And then even before that, the history of the country is full of racism, atrocities, brutality, injustices.

The country, like most of humanity, is a disgrace. Seeing so many people proud of being scumbags, that's amazing
war is war - it's ugly, evil and should no longer exist on a civilized earth.

but - coaching children how to bully other children? jesus, that's so fuckin low
Mar 2013
Middle Tennessee
I have friends from Tanzania. Their youngest was born here. Literally, the day after the election, one of his classmates, at the ripe old age of 6, asked their son WHEN TRUMP WAS DEPORTING HIM ??????

As SIX year old !!!! ????? I can only imagine what that kid hears at home every day.

And to add insult to injury this wasn’t in some middle of nowhere, backwoods, hickville, semi-segregated, redneck strong hold, this happened in the most affluent county in TN and one of the most affluent in the nation. Home to multiple multinational corporations. I have all sorts of engineering and IT people of ever race and nationality come through my store on a daily basis.

Anybody that thinks racism isn’t alive and well and simmering just under the surface is totally delusional. There is no denying that Trump seems to embolden them.
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