Jean Tuttle Illustration

Talking to my Kids About the Orange Menace

Lets get a few things out-of-the-way, shall we?

This entire blog is op-ed, in this space my voice reigns…supreme. I’m Smart Media Mom and I’m not here for your approval or your clicks. I’m here to be free. I’m here to be unapologetically me! I created this blog so that I can create the kind of smart content I crave and is in scarce supply around the internet. If you don’t agree with me, you are welcome to comment but please remember, keeping it moving costs zero dollars and zero cents.

In my universe Donald J. Trump is an Orange Menace (OM). In my universe white people elected an ego maniacal, white supremacist, who is lining his pockets while filling the white house with other ego maniacal, white supremacists to create, what my husband has called, “the Voltron of corruption.” I’m not arguing this obvious point. History and publications more worthy than mine have proven this fact. If you voted for the OM, please, and I mean this with all due respect, Fuck. Off.

Today I am here in the aftermath to talk to fellow parents, who aren’t seduced by bat shit insanity, to figure out how we talk to our kids about this mess we call American politics!

Hate crimes are up and on the rise.

Don’t believe me, do the research. Start here and here.

Emboldened by OM’s win, people are popping right out of their racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic closets. Proudly announcing themselves, “here!” for the white pride party. Exit polls will tell you, it’s not just the usual suspects like the KKK, alt-right, neo-Nazis, or whatever those kids are calling themselves these days. Nor is it just red-necked yokels with poor educations and even poorer hygiene. No, the hate is coming from suburbanites who shop at Michael’s too.

Unfortunately kids are boarding the hate train as well.

In Minneapolis, middle-school boys leaned out of a school bus to yell, “Grab her by the pussy!” to a man walking with a female colleague. – Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

I have had multiple conversations with my children throughout this election. I’m no monolith as a parent and my way is exactly that, my way. My way is to talk about it, confrontation can be healthy. I think it’s important to talk to our kids about what is going on. They already have an idea, they are talking about it on the playground, trust me.

The next four years are going to push well past the boundaries of decency. I’ve accepted this inevitability. So, here is how I am talking to my kids about the Orange Menace:

He’s a bully…a quick trip to his twitter page will completely validate this fact. Whether he is threatening to jail or deport (to where idk) protesters who burn the flag or insisting the press refrain from criticism, it is clear his character is devoid of traits like compassion, empathy, diplomacy, grace and from where I’m sitting, he seems to have a love and joy deficiency as well. My kids understand what a bully is, they have been taught both at home and in school how to spot and handle a bully.

When I explained OM in this way, they immediately agreed and then asked why anyone would want a bully as president. Kids are smarter than all of us by the way.

My response, “The fact is bullies don’t always suffer consequences for their behavior, especially when others enable and reinforce the negative. They sometimes even win. It doesn’t make them less of a bully nor more likable, nor worthy of anyone’s respect. Life isn’t always just or fair.” That’s the truth, tell your kids the truth.

Our values and beliefs did not change just because a bully was elected into office. Just as we have always stood up for the most vulnerable among us so we will continue to do just that now. Probably even more diligently than ever before. That’s what the world needs most in my opinion. People willing to fight the bullies of the world.

I am trying to raise kids who will champion the marginalized. This becomes more difficult with every day the OM and his minions transition into office. I imagine it will get worse before it gets better but I refuse to allow hate to be normalized in my home. Despite the fact that millions of people across this nation welcomed that into their homes by voting for this bully in the first place.

Be honest with your kids about racism and all the isms and phobias that are lurking around every corner. Call it out in your community, in the media, in front of them, let them see in real-time what inclusive, inter-sectional activism looks like and I promise they will follow suit.

I wish I could end this on a lighter note but the way my reality is set up I can only ask, how are you talking to your kids post-truth? How do  you explain the Orange Menace?

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