The morning after the man who bragged about grabbing women by the crotch was elected President, I turned to my wife and son and just sighed. I had tried to prepare myself for this moment for over a year. Since September, students in my English classes had ranged from nervous to angry about this man. They were often more frank about the Republican nominee’s bigoted campaign than most mainstream news coverage. Now, post-election, I had to look into their eyes as they face a truth I had acknowledged only tacitly in class before, but which the American electorate confirmed without hesitation: this country isn’t for them.

The reality of who will be the next Commander-in-Chief has only solidified my rage at people who have yet to truly reflect on their country’s legacy of racism, sexism, and xenophobia.

We’re now asked to unite around a divisive President-elect, and a vice president who opposes same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws that protect gay people, and supports conversion therapy for LGBT youth. We’re now asked to accept an election in which 868 voting districts were disenfranchised by a Supreme Court ruling gutting one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in our country, the Voting Rights Act. We’re now asked to stop scaring children in our classrooms when we see nominee after inexperienced nominee for a new cabinet speak directly to dismantling our social safety net. We are asked to unite under a philosophy that has produced an uptick in hate-based crimes across our nation’s schools, including the adults charged with protecting our students.

Forget fear in classrooms. My students were texting their parents and siblings at home to make sure there’s a back-up plan in case of danger. My students, who come from different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, understand that there are no safe spaces. The election of Trump has only solidified the reality of a hateful America I had seen burgeoning after President Obama’s election. I mean the trolls who popped up in my mentions on Twitter after people like Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Eric Garner became hashtags. They were also the judges, juries, and district attorneys who didn’t press charges and acquitted people like Daniel Panteleo, Daniel Wilson, and, most recently, Michael Slager. They were the fifth of American Federation of Teachers’ members and third of National Education Association members who deeply resented Randi Weingarten and Lily Eskelsen-Garcia’s enthusiasm for Secretary Clinton.

They were the voters who saw my students and our futures as expendable.

There was little consolation for me either. I bristled at the philosophical and hypothetical arguments over Clinton v. Sanders. As quickly as people held the flag for Senator Sanders, Sanders told us how we must disavow identity politics, as if the identities of my students didn’t captivate the hate that spurned the President-elect’s movement. Too many folks on the left disengaged with race-based movements, including Black Lives Matter and DREAMers, because they think class matters more than race, even though class is a race issue in this country.

I held all these thoughts in my mind after the election as my classroom was in a bit of a fit. The tears and anger flowed. I held it together until I could get some alone time. Being a teacher means that we believe we are instrumental in controlling the environment in which students learn. We decorate around us, set rules and routines, establish relationships, and clean up after students almost daily. But any reflective adult in that position must wonder how to fight against the uncontrollable. Individually, we are not mass movements.

The silver lining in all of this is the reminder that we would do well to build the mass coalition that pulls in people like my students, all of whom deserve to have a stake in the direction of the American experiment.

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist in New York City, NY. He is the author of This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, and has spoken about education, math, and race for The New York Times, Education Week, The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post, Edutopia, GOOD, and El Diario / La Prensa, NY.

Comments

I'm sick and tired of you sissys bashing trump and his supporters I voted twice for the dumbass that's leaving. tired of a president that has the backbone of a worm.
Lies about everything . then supports a sexual predators wife .. To keep the illegal use of the constitution in play
Has released more cons from prison than the last 4 together. And you wan to teach morals . your bigots ..more deaths linked to Clinton's than anywhere .
Bill Clinton said the exact same thing in 96 over illegals no one said a word trump says it he's a racist .. What a bunch of Bullshit .you're just a bunch of passive pussys he's not going to violate gay rights or for versus wade .
But I shire as he'll hope he gets rid of illegals... I mean what part of illegal gives you the right for goverment programs none we are the only country with open borders job being stolen for low wages non documented illegals .. So keep saying what you are saying the real working class knows what it's like not some pencil pushers ...JOIN THE TRUMP TRAIN
and if doesn't work out then we can vote him out. .but don't be a hypocrit when things go wrong when we seen what 8 years of a moron all ready has done..
Also a quick note the unemployment rate is fictitious it's actually 11%.thanks to a bona to make it look like the economy is doing good when it isn't....

t

Homosexuals getting to go to the bathroom of there choice was too much too fast.

As an 8th grade ELA teacher in a suburban Chicago school at which Latino students make up nearly half of the population, I see kids worried every day about what will happen to their friends and family members, if not themselves, because of the president-elect, his administration, and his likely policies. I also have students whose first thoughts went to conversion therapy; what if that "becomes a thing again?" they asked me. The vocal fear has died down a little since the days after the election, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

I know it's cliche, but I go back to the Edmund Burke quote, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good [people] to do noting." I do not use the word "evil" lightly, but I do believe the Trump administration continues to work toward its fulfillment. And I believe our jobs as teachers have never been more important.

It's hard in the classroom, to try to remain neutral, but kids need to have been sleeping for four months to not know where I stand on these issues. So I continue to push conversations and debates about human rights and standing up for each other. We ALL have the right to live our lives with opportunity, dignity and freedom, not just those of us who are wealthy White men. That's why I am marching in Washington on January 21, and my kids know. They need to know I stand with them.

Thank you Mr Wilson! Sad to see that even on education sites you read ignorant garbage. As they say-keep doing what you doing. Intelligence will rule the day and so will change!

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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