When Children Ask If It’s OK to Hate the President, I Tell Them Absolutely Not

Recently Teacher of the Year and blogger Tom Rademacher wrote a post, Sure, You Hate Trump, But Can You Tell Your Students That? This inspired some thoughts of my own.

Donald Trump before the presidency made it a point to say that it’s OK to hate the president. As a citizen, Donald Trump demonized the office of the president while Barack Obama held the office. I believe he is a great example of the quote, “When they go low, we go high!” President Obama ensured that all our citizens felt safe, respected, affirmed and a part of the American Dream. During the election, President Trump criticized and verbally attacked many citizens of our nation. Although his personal views and consistent rants on race and ethnicity in this county don’t provide the best climate, here’s why it’s not OK to hate the president.

  1. We must be the America we want!
  2. Our children are watching.
  3. Love Trumps Hate

Fear has caused more division within the country. We must be the America that we want to be and not the America we are; based on fear. A country that truly stands by its belief becomes the land of the free and home of the brave. We are all American, not just those of us who feel like privilege is assigned by the color of our skin.

Watching the events of this year unfold, I, like many citizens, am concerned but refusing to live in fear. I believe that as adults, we must determine the society we want to live and raise our children in.

Do we want a leader who leads our country by fear in order to capitalize financially off our downfall? Do we want to subject our children to racial division and segregation as times past? 

It’s not okay for us to hate the leader of our country, but it is okay for us to protest peacefully, hold leadership accountable and to ensure our children, families and communities are safe. We have a role to play as well. In order to be the America we want, we must:

  • Teach our children to embrace differences.
  • Embrace and respect the traditions of others.
  • Empower cultural acceptance.

This past Monday, teachers across the nation processed with children about the incidents that took place in Charlottesville. Many of them were aware of the happenings having discussions previously at home or church. It’s critically important to connect our children to real-time civil and human rights occurrences. This must be taught at home, in the community and school. Our children cannot be disconnected because we are fearful of the conversation. Our children are watching! 

A part of the reason why Donald Trump’s election found success was because of the social media outreach. His antics spoke to the fear of America that racial prejudices are needed to keep one group of people dominate over others. We have to work harder to present a different perspective for our children. Social media does not take the place of our role in educating our children. 

When children ask if it’s OK to hate the president, absolutely not. Love trumps hate! We will never see the America we want and believe in when hatred is still at the core. Empowering cultural acceptance allows the true work of civil and human rights to take place.

In talking to a group of third-grade students, they didn’t understand why we would “classify” people in America by color as opposed to just being American. Why are we “Black” when our skin color is actually brown? To a child, this question is very valid. We teach them colors to describe things and characteristics to describe people. Eighth-grade students—in one of my most diverse classes—pushed the envelope to say that it’s more about control than color. Race is used as a means to an end. If we begin to embrace culture then we can see beyond race. It begins with empowering cultural acceptance.

 

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.

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