Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'My Students Think Trump Will Put Them into Slavery'

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'My Students Think Trump Will Put Them into Slavery'

Article excerpt

Black and immigrant children in US 'terrified' of presidential contender

In one school, Latino pupils are bringing their birth certificates into school every day, so as to ensure that they make it through the day without being deported.

In another, African-American children are terrified that they are going to be sent to Africa. And, in a third, Muslim children are being taunted by other students with the words "Isis bomber" and "terrorist".

Across the US, non-white pupils are going to their teachers in tears, frightened that they will be deported or thrown into detention camps if Donald Trump wins the presidential election, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 US teachers, conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, suggests that Mr Trump's election campaign is inflaming ethnic and racial tensions in classrooms around the country.

The survey did not cite any of the presidential candidates by name. But, of a total of 5,000 responses to questions, more than 1,000 mentioned Republican presidential-wannabe Donald Trump. By contrast, fewer than 200 mentioned either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, or Ted Cruz, who challenged Mr Trump in the race to become the Republican presidential nominee.

During his campaign for the Republican nomination, which came to a head at the party's national convention in Ohio this week, Mr Trump attracted attention for his views on minority groups. He has spoken of deporting millions of Latinos, building a wall between the US and Mexico, banning Muslim immigrants and killing the families of Islamic terrorists.

'We'll be sent to Africa'

"My students are terrified of Donald Trump," one teacher, who works at a middle school with a large number of black Muslim pupils, told researchers. "They think that, if he's elected, all black people will get sent back to Africa." More than two-thirds of the teachers surveyed reported that some pupils - mainly Muslims, immigrants and the children of immigrants - had expressed fears about what would happen to them after the election.

The report states: "Even native-born African-American children, whose families arrived here before the American Revolution, ask about being sent back to Africa." Others have expressed concerns about being sent into slavery or rounded up and put in detention camps. And Muslim pupils have asked whether, if Mr Trump became president, they would have microchips implanted under their skin.

More than a third of the teachers surveyed also reported an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant feeling in the classroom.

Chris Waller, professional officer at the UK's Association for Citizenship Teaching, drew a comparison between the rise in racist attacks in post-Brexit vote Britain and the xenophobia that is currently being expressed in US schools.

"Inflammatory, xenophobic views in public life often provoke xenophobic comments by young people," he said. "Because they hear a lot of them, and they're often not provided with a forum to discuss these issues."

Victims of 'hatred'

One US teacher reported that a pupil in the fifth grade (equivalent to Year 6) had told a Muslim classmate "that he was supporting Donald Trump, because he was going to kill all of the Muslims if he becomes president".

"Young children can't understand why people hate them without even knowing them," one teacher said. …

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