Just as well that US schools are closed for some of this political season of campaigning. Donald Trump had been radicalising America’s children. High schools and university campuses in some parts of America have been feeling the effects of Mr Trump’s campaign and his message. That is to say some have been spouting the same racism and bigotry that the Republican Party’s nominee for president has made a feature of his candidacy.
White students have been demanding, at strategic moments, such as when they encounter Hispanic classmates, that a “wall” be built. Others have been describing campaigners for black rights as “terrorists” within earshot of their black fellow students. High school soccer games have been observed as metamorphosing into an ill-tempered racist exercise in name-calling. Click here for an April incident in Wisconsin. Click here for the outbreak of incendiary messages at the University of Illinois. And here for the ferment in California. These are just three of several reported incidents up and down the country.
Has Donald Trump’s xenophobia opened the way this “trickle-down racism”, to use the words of senior Republican Party leader Mitt Romney?
Not really. It’s not trickle-down racism so much as open-season offensiveness. Young people mimic their elders. They are learning the lessons being handed down by Mr Trump, 70 years old and running for the highest office in the land. The fact that he can sully and smear religious, ethnic and disabled communities and call a senior female politician “Pocahontas” in a humiliating stereotyping of Native Americans sends a powerful message to young Americans. You can get away with behaving as you feel like when you feel like.
Mr Trump is bad for American parenting. He’s setting an appalling example for children.