The Trump era in full effect. And it’s interesting to me how some people attempt to mollify the social anxiety surrounding this presidency by equating it to the kind that lived early on in the Obama administration. “If we were able to make it out of that,” they’ll say, “this will be no different.” I doubt it can be that simple.If the obvious differences in their ideology and temperament isn’t enough to dispel that notion, then the volume of Women led Anti-Trump protests that took place all across the globe on the day after he was sworn in should. No competition.
One is a more dangerous threat then the other and for far more legitimate reasons. Let’s keep it trill, any threat Obama posed was mainly based on his foreign sounding name and his half African skin. For this, he was met with protests that challenged his citizenship; a movement we know was led by Trump. It’s at that moment he positioned himself as the leader to a large sector of the population who feared cultural diversity and felt they were losing touch with the traditional order of the country.
So where Obama was primarily a symbol of change and growth; reshaping the possibilities of what the country and it’s historically powerless could become, Trump does the exact opposite. His new position as commander in chief is empowering groups who have been dominant to restore “their” country back to the way that is most comfortable for them. And there lies what makes him “Dangerous Donald.” One area being jeopardized as a result of this movement is education.
On January 1, 2011, AZ House Bill 2281- a bill led by former Arizona Superintendent Tom Horne designed to prohibit students in grades K-12 from being taught classes that promotes things such as “overthrow of the U.S. Government and resentment toward a race or class of people”-went into effect. This was mainly a response to a Mexican American course being taught within the Tucson Unified school district.
Ironically, 2011 would be the same year Donald Trump made his appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America and first expressed that he was seriously thinking about running for president. In that same interview is where he also revealed his suspicious about Obama’s Birth certificate. Fast forward 6 years later and they have advanced.“Boogeyman” Obama is out of office; Trump‘s taken his place; and Arizona lawmakers are attempting to further stifle the states ethnic studies.
This time it’s Arizona Republican Bob Thorpe. Thorpe wants to strengthen the AZ House Bill 2281 with HB2120, which would make the previous legislation apply to higher education. Apparently, it’s classes like ASU introduced “U.S. Race theory and the problem of whiteness,” that are aggravating to Thorpe. Though his attempt to block such courses has been hauled off as of Jan. 17, we should still be alarmed at how Trump’s influence is reissueing a certain kind of entitlement and confidence in those who yearn for “the good ol’ days.”
In late November, just a few weeks after Trump was elected, a website called “Professor Watchlist” was launched by conservative students with the purpose of exposing professors who’s coursework might include what they call, “anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda.” I’ve been in English and Humanities courses like “Popular culture” here on campus and have experienced conservative students grow uncomfortable when topics like Race were discussed.
Indeed it may be a touchy subject. But it is necessary and important that we engage in those discussions if in no other place than on a college campus. Many of the dissenting students, usually white males, would withdraw themselves from the class completely. Now I’m alarmed that brilliant professors like the ones I consider a privilege to have had, and who are responsible in discussing these topics, will now because of confidence being encouraged by our president become targeted, defamed, or even worse dismissed for performing their duty.
A duty I consider intregal for the growth of society and our democracy. These anti-ethnic studies groups aren’t doing what’s best for education. Rather, they’re trying to protect themselves and their conscious or subconscious stake in white supremacy.