What This Educator Appreciates About Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Trump should feel special right about now. For anyone with access to a TV or Internet, not a day goes by that we don't hear about something outrageous he said in the news, talk shows, nightly shows or the Twittersphere. Even if we don't want to.

Last summer, when he announced his bid for president, I, like many Americans, didn't take it seriously. At the time, I thought, for sure, that Jeb would secure the Republican nomination. Life's funny like that. The irony.

So, when He Who Must Not Be Named came out and called my people rapist, I didn't get upset. I figured the public outcry would simply force him to suspend his campaign. Surely that's a wrap for him. Right?

Nope. As we all know, his popularity soared. Then he called for a temporary ban on all Muslims. Then he peppered Twitter with misogynistic comments. Then he said we should erect a wall to block out Mexican immigrants. And make them pay for it. These are just a few examples of his odious comments. The whole time I kept thinking that each one would make his supporters come to their senses. The opposite happened.

A presidential candidate with fascist ideas is one thing. His millions of followers are another. The fact that he fills stadiums for his speeches makes me anxious. That means there are millions of people who totally agree with his racist and misogynistic ideas.

However, as an educator, I appreciate all the news coverage. It's important to me that my students understand how the world operates beyond their neighborhood. Though the real possibility of him being elected president frightens me, public reactions to Trump's comments serve as a litmus test for where our country stands on race, gender and immigration.

I bring up race and identity in my class as a point of discussion as much as possible. But I can't just walk into class and say, "Hey, guys, let's talk about racism in America." I need a catalyst. Thankfully, time and time again, Trump provides that perfect catalyst. All I need to do is wait for him to say something outlandish and there I have my lesson plan.

For instance, recently I had my class watch the video showing how black students at Valdosta State University were kicked out of a Trump rally for no clear reason. Watching the clip sparked a discussion about the kind of people who support the Republican candidate. Talking about the article proved a far more effective way to discuss racism than throwing up a Selma clip or reading a passage from the New Jim Crow ever would. This is more immediate. More real. This is the world we live in right now. Thanks to Trump, we can no longer say we live in a post-racial society. We can have real talk about the racism. He gives us no choice.

I want my students of color to recognize that one day they will have to interact with the "trumps" of the world in college and in life. They need to become equipped to navigate that world. Discussing Trump's antics helps facilitate this.

So, thank you, Trump, for helping my students examine the discrimination and prejudice that exists in America. Keep doing what you're doing. Just don't win the election in November. Please.