Letters to the editor – Tuesday – 10-11-16
Rhetoric scares children, heightens racial tensions
Children have always looked up to their parents, teachers, ministers and politicians as authority figures from whom they get guidance and direction. Since they are innocent and generally great imitators of us as adults, we must make sure that we hold up a certain standard of measured maturity in what we say and do around them.
I reference a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center which highlights instances of how the racial rhetoric of Donald Trump, a candidate for the White House, has produced a dangerous climate in many classrooms across the nation. The following are just a few of these instances:
1. In Tennessee, a kindergarten teacher says a Latino child asks every day, “Is the wall there yet?”
2. A teacher reports that a fifth-grader told a Muslim student: “I am supporting Donald Trump because he is going to kill all of the Muslims if he becomes president!”
3. “Students seem emboldened to make bigoted and inflammatory statements about minorities, immigrants, the poor, etc.,” according to a high school teacher in Michigan.
4. “A lot of students think should kill any and all people we do not agree with,” said a Westmoreland, N.H., high school teacher.
While parents and educators teach tolerance in an effort to calm racial tensions, the Trump campaign seems to be throwing hot coals on an already blazing fire. Surely the Trump rhetoric has had a dangerous effect on these young, impressionable minds with which all of us adults should be concerned. For his campaign politics has produced such an alarming level of fear and anxiety in the classroom among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions that all concerned parents and citizens should take a very serious look at who best can lead our country forward in these crucial times.
— William D. Turner