In this week’s report: An in-depth look at a toxic trend in America’s schools as students invoke the president’s name in their bullying of minority students, a slew of nooses in Washington, D.C., and all is (relatively) calm in Portland.
Let’s just start with this:
On a school bus in San Antonio, Texas, a white eighth-grader said to a Filipino classmate, “You are going to be deported.” In a classroom in Brea, California, a white eighth-grader told a black classmate, “Now that Trump won, you’re going to have to go back to Africa, where you belong.” In the hallway of a high school in San Mateo County, California, a white student told two biracial girls to “go back home to whatever country you’re from.” In Louisville, Kentucky, a third-grade boy chased a Latina girl around the classroom shouting, “Build the wall!” 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!”
That’s from an exposé in BuzzFeed News this week that examines a toxic phenomenon in America’s schools: Children across the country are quoting, and citing, President Donald Trump as they bully their fellow classmates.
BuzzFeed examined data from the Documenting Hate project, an effort by ProPublica and other outlets – including Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting – to quantify and document hate-fueled incidents and crimes across the country. The reporters confirmed more than 50 incidents in 26 states in which K-12 students invoked the president’s name to harass fellow students within the past year. And they examined the impact this is having on teachers, several of whom told BuzzFeed they’re witnessing a wholly new phenomenon:
“This is my 21st year in education and I’ve never seen a situation like this before,” said Brent Emmons, principal of Hood River Middle School in Oregon. “It’s a delicate tightrope to walk. It’s not my role to tell people how to think about political policies, but it is my role to make sure every kid feels safe at the school.”
At a time of thick political and racial tensions, and of heightened worries among people of color, what is a teacher to say when a student asks: Why can the president say it but I can’t?
Back in November, the Southern Poverty Law Center surveyed more than 10,000 school professionals and asked them about “the Trump effect” in their institutions. The center found that more than 90 percent of respondents reported their school environment had been negatively affected by the recent election. A full 80 percent described “heightened anxiety and concern” from students and their families since Trump’s election.
And this week, the hate continued in America’s schools.
At a Los Angeles high school, officials investigated a possible hate crime after a black student was depicted being lynched in a social media post shared by her fellow students, KTLA 5 reported on Tuesday:
… her response was “more disgust than sadness, because everyone knows there’s ignorant people in the world, and you’re going to encounter them at any turn.”
And the father of a black student in Georgetown, Texas, has complained that school officials took insufficient action after his daughter was followed around by a student holding a whip and saying, “You’re my slave now.”
Another child allegedly said, “I don’t sit next to apes,” before moving away from the bullied student, The Dallas Morning News reported this week.
A slew of nooses in the capital
In the past two months, there have been at least five incidents of nooses being used as apparent displays of racial intimidation in the Washington, D.C., area, the Inquisitr reported Sunday.
Noting that “Nooses are symbolic of racial hatred against black Americans and conjure up images of a period in American history where violence against blacks sometimes ended with a lynch mob and a noose,” the story outlines the recent cases:
Two nooses were found within the last week at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. One was found last Wednesday (May 28) in the history gallery in the “segregation” exhibit. Another was found by a security officer on a tree on the Smithsonian museum grounds May 26. Bananas hanging from nooses were discovered around the campus of American University in early May.
A noose was left in the kitchen of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house at the University of Maryland in April.
On June 1, a noose was found at a southeast Washington house under construction.
On Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center pointed out that it’s not just the nation’s capital where this symbol of America’s hateful past is surfacing.
And, bringing the hate full-circle, the center outlined a recent case in North Carolina where four high school students were identified in connection with a black teddy bear found hanging from a noose in their school.
Portland remains (relatively) calm but storms are brewing elsewhere
Following last month’s fatal stabbing attacks in Portland, Oregon, the city braced itself for the arrival of protesters from the far-right, who chose the city to stage “free speech” rallies last weekend.
In the end, however, the white supremacists and other far-right protesters were dwarfed by thousands of counter-protesters, including many affiliated with the “anti-fascist” or “Antifa” movement. The day ended with “little significant violence,” reported the Willamette Week:
That was partly because police cracked down on the anarchist crowd that had gathered near the “alt-right” rally in Terry Schrunk Plaza. Riot cops cleared protesters out of nearby Chapman Square, and detained about 200 people, including six reporters, for an hour in a downtown street.
But it was also because of restraint from the socialists, labor unions and anarchists who showed up today in a throng well over 1,000 people and outnumbered the right-wing extremists by as much as 10 to 1.
More showdowns between the far-right and the Antifa are brewing for this weekend, however.
White supremacists have organized rallies across the United States for Saturday. Ostensibly, these are being branded as “anti-Sharia law” protests and many have been organized by the Islamophobic group ACT for America.
One of the largest rallies is planned for San Bernardino, California, close to the site of the 2015 terrorist attack that killed 14 people.
California Antifa groups are pledging to show up in San Bernardino and disrupt the protest.
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Have something to add? Contact Will Carless at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @willcarless.