Hello from the other side of the aisle,
Thank you for clicking whatever link brought you here. There are some things I need to ask of you now. I’m going to lay out the assumption that I’m making in writing this blog post first, because I think, especially in this time of deep division, that may help us talk to one another.
I know that not every Trump voter is a bigot. I know that people had reasons to vote for Donald Trump that were grounded in belief about issues like the economy, foreign policy, change agency, trustworthiness, a deep belief in the Republican Party, and more. And I trust that if you were willing to click this link, you are one of those people. Thank you for reading with an open mind and an open heart.
What I need to say is that we need you right now. All over this country, we are seeing acts of hate speech, harassment and intimidation. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports over 80 such acts on college and K-12 campuses since Election Day. And that aligns with what I am hearing from friends and former students who are experiencing similar things. In case you haven’t heard of specific examples, here are a few:
- At U. Penn, African-American first year students were added to a GroupMe text and sent racist, hateful words and images including photos of lynchings.
- At Shasta High School in California, a white male student handed out fake “deportation” letters to students of multiple ethic backgrounds.
- 7th graders at a Royal Oaks, MI Middle School chanted “Build that Wall” in the cafeteria while students of multiple ethnicities were in the room.
- There were multiple acts of racism, sexism and homophobia at Council Rock North High School, just outside of Philadelphia, on the day after Election Day.
And these are but a few. And again, this aligns with stories that I have been hearing from friends and former students from all over the country that aren’t getting reported.
You didn’t mean for this to happen. I know. This isn’t what you wanted when you went into the ballot booth. You care about all the kids you teach, regardless of race, sexuality, religion. You count black children, Muslim children, immigrant children, Jewish children, LGBTQ children among some of the favorites you’ve ever taught.
But this is happening. And it is terrifying. And we all need to come together to stop it.
So I’m asking you for a few things.
- Make an affirmative statement that your class is a safe space for all children. Here are some examples:
- This the note that the SLA educators wrote and hung so that every kid saw it as they walked in Wednesday morning. We also read it aloud in our classes and talked about what it meant with all our kids.
- An English teacher had this note on her door this week for all her kids:
My English teacher put this on her door today.. pic.twitter.com/ZYGiPtgiCJ
— Natalie Gomez (@natssfatss) November 10, 2016
- Speak out against this. The people who feel most fragile right now need the people who voted for President-Elect Trump to have their backs. Tweet @realDonaldTrump and ask him to speak out against the rise in hate speech in our schools this past week. Contact his transition office by telling your story here. Sign the petition started by a fellow educator asking President-Elect Trump to speak out.
- And please, don’t minimize this or pretend it isn’t happening, or try to explain it away or say that there are bad things happening on both sides. Not now. The orderly transfer of power to a Trump administration has to mean that our all our children – especially the kids who have been made to feel unsafe this week – have to know that their teachers believe in them and want them to be safe. I have to be honest here. I have spoken to many Trump supporters in the last few days, and I am disheartened by the willingness to explain what is happening away. Please don’t do that.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for what I truly hope will be your action. Thank you for teaching all our children. We have a lot of healing to do as a nation. I hope it can start with all of us in our schools.
This is a terrific piece and EVERYONE should read it and act on your suggestions.
Thank you Chris. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I would add : Dear Students who are Catholic:
You and the values your families hold dear are also welcome here. You are free to believe that abortion is the taking of a human life, that marriage between a man and a woman is best for society, and other values that you believe are part of your rights.
No one seems to mention this.
Because no one is attacking Catholics right now.
Because no one is making you have abortions or get married to the same sex… your beliefs are your own, and apply to yourself and those of your own faith, but do not apply to society at large. No one is making me wear a Burka, or fast, or worship at certain times, or is forcing me to cut out foods from my diest, but you as Catholics feel you have the right to legislate your beliefs. Allowances will be made in society for most religious beliefs that fall in line with mores and views. Your views are not the majority and not overwhelming. Religion is religion, law is law. Religion mascarading as law is not going to happen.
It’s a two-way street Chris. We need educators to speak out against violence towards those who voted for Trump.
Bottom line: we educators can be a promote calm or ignite controversary. I hope everyone will promote the living document that is for everyone, the U.S. Constitution and each of its amendments.
I am a veteran. When I volunteered to serve our country, I swore to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. President-elect Trump will take that same oath in January 2017.
The U.S. Constitution is the tie that binds us no matter what.
With all due respect, the last stat I saw was that reported incidents are running more than 20 to 1 . And importantly, the reports of violence aren’t against Clinton voters, they are against people of color, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ people, women.
Trump’s language throughout the campaign, from publicly offering to pay the legal bills of anyone who attack demonstrators to his Islamophobia to his coded ads about “global banking conspiracies” and more, created the conditions for what we are seeing.
I am unwilling to wait through three months of violence for the oath you hope makes this better. I genuinely do not understand how anyone would not want him to simply call for an end to these attacks.
Please broaden your news sources for your stat.’s as we have seen in this election what was supposed to be a bias free media is not, the liberal slant reigns heavily. Not all media sources are reporting this statistic.
None of these things are happening in my semi-rural Texas school. But we did have an instance of an American kid of Hispanic descent spraying urine from a plastic bottle onto a disabled kid.
Last year I had a student, again American born but of Hispanic descent, who was mocking the mentally and physically disabled in the hallway. A caucasian football player (who later in the year expressed his support for Donald Trump) told him to stop it, and the kid refused. Later in the day, the football player engaged in some shoving of the kid who mocked the disabled. None of this was witnessed by an adult, but the mocking student ceased his behavior.
I do not believe that the reprehensible behavior of either of the two young men springs from their cultural heritage. It springs from them being a$$&*#%s.
I did not support Trump, and I did not support Clinton. But my students do not know that. They know that I was not happy with my choices and that I was not going to be happy with the results no matter the outcome. But I do support my kids and I support civility in and out of my classroom. Our kids need to know, to the core of their souls, that we care about all of them, and we will not allow ANYONE to show any form of disrespect to them.
As I said earlier, the overwhelming number of these hate crimes are being perpetrated on people of color, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ citizens, immigrants and women. If it isn’t happening in your school, consider yourself lucky. I’ve talked to several superintendents this week – they’ve all seen a rise in hate crimes against those communities since Election Day. What possible harm would come of you explicitly using your voice to call for an end to them?
The first year of my career, decades ago, I was the only sixth grade teacher, and my students had been together since kindergarten. 2 months into the year class numbers rose to 30, a new teacher was hired, and the class was split. We told the kids a week in advance, and they were fine. Then a well-meaning staff member started telling them how difficult it must be for them to be split up like that, how strange it would seem, how scared some of them must be feeling. Pretty soon, I had a terrified, crying mess on my hands.
I have a strong relationship with my kids. I’ve had multiple students over the years approach me with personal issues, family problems, difficulties with other classes, or just the overwhelming nature of life. My LGBTQ students come to me for reading recommendations and stay in touch long after they’ve left my classroom. I take my cues for what they need from my kids. I don’t take them from the national media or anyone else.
If there’s an a$$&*^@ kid who is looking for a strong reaction from me or another adult in our building, I would rather he go about it without me giving him the ammunition he needs go after a vulnerable kid. He may figure that out on his own, and if he does I/we will deal with it. But I’m NOT giving him ideas.
So why will you not call for President-Elect Trump to call for an end to the hate crimes?
Your request was for teachers who voted for him to make that request. And even thought I didn’t, I have no problem making such a request. But I also want President Obama to ask the rioters to stop blocking freeways, burning cars, and breaking windows.
If you look at the polling results history you will see that the states that voted for Trump also voted for Obama at least once. Sure, there are bigots and racists in the pro-Trump camp, but Trump never ran a campaign based on blatant bigotry.
The reasons why Trump won over Clinton is because the majority of people want CHANGE, something they haven’t seen from the current administration despite a slick campaign slogan. Also, Clinton is a crook who has become uber-wealthy from taking money from big banks and foreign nations.
This post is not about who did or didn’t win. This is about stopping hate crimes. And if you think Trump didn’t run a campaign that had bigotry as a major plank of its platform, I urge you to read John Scalzi’s “The Cinemax Theory of Racism.” http://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/11/10/the-cinemax-theory-of-racism/
Resorting to more name calling will not help heal the divide.
The more I think about this, the more it irritates me. It is precisely this condescending, holier-that-thou-we-know-better-than-you-dolts attitude that got us into this abominable mess.
You presume to tell teachers what to do, when you have NO IDEA what they ARE doing. And that is disrespectful.
The teacher across the hall from me, of Middle-Eastern descent, voted for Trump. His students don’t know that. They know that he teaches culturally diverse literature, he pushes them to hone their arguments, he will not allow them to be disrespectful during classroom discussions, and they ALL believe that he was probably furious that Bernie Sanders wasn’t on the ballot. That’s what good teachers do. We push our kids to think. To be respectful of one another. And we do not let them know our own political leanings-because the moment that we do, we’ve caused at least one kid in the room to think “she hates me because I like Clinton and she voted for Johnson.”
You do what you need to do to take care of your kids. I’m sure you do it well. And I do it just as well in my building.
You found a plea for help in keeping kids safe and a call for an end to the rise in hate crimes holier-than-thou. There really is nothing more that I can say except I hope none of your students experience what kids all over the country are experiencing. No one deserves that.
No, THIS is the condescending attitude:
I know that not every Trump voter is a bigot. (Translation: But isn’t it obvious that most of them are?)
You didn’t mean for this to happen. I know. This isn’t what you wanted when you went into the ballot booth. (The implication: You just weren’t smart enough to know that it would be the result.)
Make an affirmative statement that your class is a safe space for all children. (Because if I don’t tell you to do so, you probably won’t do it on your own.)
Many of my students over the years have felt marginalized-long before Trump ever ran for office, and they have known me to be their champion. My trans students know to come to me when there are issues, and I’ll help them find the proper avenue for help. My student of Middle-Eastern descent who three years ago refused to pick trash up off of the floor because “that’s a job for blacks and Mexicans” recently emailed me to thank me for the lessons in empathy I offered him.
I, too, hope my kids do not experience the hate that others have felt. If they do, they’ll let me know. They’ll do that because they feel safe with me.
If you don’t see how your attitude can be seen as condescending, then I fear that you, and others with the same attitude, will prolong this national nightmare for eight years.
Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Whatever you chose to read into my piece, that is your read. I made an honest plea for help. I am sorry you chose to take it any other way. Take care.
I understand, but I am heartsick over this election, and I truly see the attitude toward the Trump voters as part of the reason for the outcome. Just try reading your own words applied this way:
After the shootings of the Dallas police officers:
I know that not every Obama voter wants cops killed.
I know this (the deaths of those 5 officers) isn’t what you wanted when you went into the ballot booth.
Speak out against this. The families of police officers who put their lives on the line need the people who voted for President Obama to have their backs.
If you look deep inside yourself, would you have been offended, on some level, had someone used that language toward you? Would you have felt that you were in some way being blamed for the behavior of an evil person?
Except this – President Obama did not on an anti-police platform. And he did speak out against the deaths of those officers. And I was proud of him for doing so. President-Elect Trump has been silent.
I did fear that you would not be able to see the way that the Trump voter would read your commentary, and I was correct.
Your reply to my rewording of your comments (to which I cannot reply), while an excellent defense of President Obama, a man I admire tremendously, would seem to indicate that your original words were, indeed, a direct indictment of the teachers who may have voted for Trump.
You will obviously see only what you wish to see, and it is not my job to attempt to guide you to see how others might view your argument.
I will wish you a good night and a productive week.
He just named Steve Bannon – a known white nationalist and anti-Semite – as his chief strategist. I now am genuinely asking you – when do Trump voters have to reflect on who they elected?
Oh, good grief. You’re STILL proving my point. You seem to be blaming the teachers who voted for Trump for the evil behavior of students who are behaving in a vile manner.
I didn’t vote for him. I can’t tell you when they have to reflect on anything or on what they will have to reflect. But I can tell you that I am not going to go around telling them what to do or how to do it. Nor am I going to rub their faces in any problems that arise. I won’t smile, or yell, and say “See, I told you so.”
I learned MANY years ago that when my view wins out, it’s a whole lot better to try to win over the side that lost, and when my view loses, it’s best to try to understand where things went wrong.
I see where things went wrong. I’m just afraid that a WHOLE lot of other people don’t. When you have a moment, you might go to you tube and find “This is Who is to Blame for Trump.” He is profane, but he is not wrong.
I watched it. I agree with much of it. He just named a white nationalist Chief Strategist. When do people who voted for him who are not racist speak up?
A needed post, thank you. It was a bit shy of perfect for me in that you failed to mention the rioting, looting and attack on police officers since the election coming from the other side. It’s highly probable you’ve seen the viral video of a trump voter pulled from his vehicle and beaten to name just one incident.
I am not an educator. I, am a Child Protective Services Supervisor. My job is stressful, I can be ugly but I have a team that gets the job done and they do it well. On Wednesday, one of the Social Workers I supervise, who happens to be both African American, as well as a lesbian went to respond to a child neglect report. She was “greeted” by the father who proceeded to tell her he doesn’t “allow N****** into his home, especially one who eats P****”. She’s been, at this job for 12 years, and this is the first blatant experience of racism and homophobia, she had ever experienced while completing her job. How are we to assure the child( who the report identified as a victim) in that home is safe, if we can’t even assure that we are.
I didn’t vote for Trump, but surprisingly enough, a number of my co-workers have. I will ask them to read this. I will ask them to contact him (he loves his Twitter account) to denounce this hatred. I too, will contact him because regardless if I voted for him or not, come January he will be my President regardless of my vote.
To educators that voted for Donald Trump,
I need your help. I am a single mother of a middle schooler who is in special support classes. He has a brain injury and has special educational needs. My son has always struggled with the social aspect of school. You see, he is awkward in gait,small for his age, he is clumsy, uncoordinated, often times messy, he falls, he spills things. He has never quite fit in. But he is good, and he is kind, and he works hard. Educators, I’m sure you all have had (or currently have) a student like my son. You know, the one that you pray won’t be a victim of bullying. The one has the potential to be an easy victim of bullying. The one who it isn’t unusual to see sitting by himself, at lunch. Unfortunately, that is my son.
The day after the election, he was waiting for the bus to come home from school. He walks about about a block. A group of older boys (he tells me from the local high school) followed behind him. They taunted and yelled at him for that block. They called him “retard”, they called him “stupid”, they called him “dummy”. They went as far as making the same hand gestures the president elect (that you voted for) made when talking about the disabled journalist. And as you can imagine, my son was scared. Yes, this could have happened at any day, but it happened to occur the day after the election. An election that allowed people to believe that bullying was acceptable. People will do as their leaders do. They will follow the example of those that lead.
I, as a mother will follow up with my son’s school. I will advocate for one of the most important people in my life. And part of that advocating is why educators that voted for Donald Trump, I am asking you to speak out against this hatred. I need your help in helping advocate for my son, as well as others that may not fit the popular mold.
Great post Chris! Thank you!
Chris, your post infuriates me!
Instead of focusing on what the Trump voters should do, perhaps the Democrats should take some responsibility and tell their rioters to stop! The rioters are the bigots, the bullies, and the racists attacking people and spewing hate-speech not Trump supporters.
Message to Democrats: get your house in order. Stop blaming Trump. Move on from your comfort dogs, your coloring books and your excuses for not taking exams because “you are too upset.” In typical Democratic fashion, you blame everyone else for your problems and expect everyone else take care of you.
If students are upset, tell them to talk to their parents. If they are being bullied, then follow the school protocol for bullying. Leave political out of it.
By the way, why isn’t Hilary speaking out? These rioters are her supporters.
I am so sorry that a plea for help angered you.
Nice apology without an apology.
So, why aren’t you addressing the failure of the left wing community to control the riots and beatings?
Because I was asking you for help with the students we all teach. There are now hundreds of reported incidents of hate speech and hate crimes in K-12 and university spaces in the past week.
Part of addressing the issue would be teaching your students why rioting is not an appropriate response to their hurt feelings. Furthermore, you could set an example by openly writing a letter to the DNC, to HRC, to Sanders, or to anyone else who has some political clout to cease their juvenile behavior.
Jim – I just told you that my students are now more fearful of attacks, and your answer was that they should write letters telling protestors to be less violent. I am asking that you show empathy to the students who have walked into schools seeing “KKK” and Nazi symbols, or who have had hijabs grabbed at on the subway, or who were walking down the halls of a school where they used to feel safe and were told, “Go back to where you came from.”
This is all happening right now. I am asking for help. Why do you need to argue against that?
Great post, Chris. I like a good dialog as much as the next guy but it’s tough to argue with a Trump supporter. I’d be a lousy debater.
I was teaching when 9/11 happened…The emotional fear now is as great as it was then. I had three rules to guide the room…Respect authority….Respect others….Respect yourself…All four words had previously been explained, defined, modeled, and practiced. Solved lots of problems; and created an atmosphere of genuine safety…
Thank you for writing this post, Chris. Cornelius’s impromptu ILA session and protocol for talking about hard issues seems more relevant than ever and I hope these important discussions continue online and in person. See you in Atlanta!
First thank you for opening a dialogue and providing a safe space to make a comment. Let me start by saying I readily denounce those who perpetrate hate crimes and especially those who use the election as an excuse. There is no place for those kind of actions. And we should not paying people on either side with broad brush strokes…
First I think we need to know that there has been a general rise in the US of Hate crimes es since 2015 and the the BBC reports…
. “The cause and effect around current event and hate crimes is complicated…But major events also boost awareness of hate crimes and awareness of how to report them, along with media attention, and that could account for some of the spike.” …
These speak to the fact that there is evil in our world and people who do bad things … there are reports of hate on both sides like the recent story of the mother who kicked her son out for voting for Trump in a mock election .. Or the person attacked in school after tweetiing she had vorted for Trump. Along with the incidents you mention…. ( The BBC also reminds us…But beware – there are also hoaxes and false stories circulating. In Louisiana, a student who said she was robbed by two men who shouted racial obscenities turned out to have made the story up. And old stories about hate crimes and assaults against minorities are making the rounds on social media, masquerading as breaking news.)
As educators our responsibility is to teach civility and respect… To teach our students to listen carefully and respond thoughtfully…. To not jump on the bandwagon… But to be our own person… And make difference in our world by how we live… Because we only control or side of the circle and we always have choice in how we respond…
Chris though you and I vorted differently….. What we want for our students is much the same…
Just a iPad typing correction…
We should not paint people on either side with broad brush strokes
And Chris, THIS article might help you understand why people voted for Trump (if you bother to avail yourself of it, of course).
I understand why people voted for Trump — I read reason.com as one of my frequent reads because I find it incredibly thoughtful. I genuinely mean what I said that I believe people had many reasons for voting for him. Kids from marginalized groups are now feeling less safe in our schools, and I am genuinely asking teachers to understand that and ensure that every kid feels safe in schools.
And by reading that article you would see that students you ordinarily would not consider to be “marginalized” would feel unsafe under the aegis of Political Correctness. The current policy of catering only to protected groups, defined as such by a select coterie of Progressives (the modern Iluminati?), will only cause deepening resentment. You can get little surprises like this election.
Thank you so much for your post. I am a Spanish teacher at Auburn High School in Auburn, MA and we borrowed the letter you included at the beginning of your post and made it into a poster for all the teachers at our school. Very inspiring stuff.