In an exhaustive article written by a Mod Squad of reporters, the Kansas City Star imagines a rise in incidents of school-based intolerance and attributes it to the ascendancy of Donald Trump.
There is nothing novel about this approach. A thousand other articles have been written like it elsewhere, most equally sophomoric. What makes this article noteworthy is how impressively one-sided it is.
The Star cites sources like the long since discredited Southern Poverty Law Center and Buzzfeed (Buzzfeed?) to make the case that the “Trump effect” is causing ethnic and religious intolerance to gain traction among teens. The Star does concede, however, that the reports issued by the SPLC and Buzzed are “based on unscientific, online surveys.”
One has stop wonder why the Star would cite such reports at all. The answer is pretty straightforward. The thesis precedes the reporting. The reporters write under the assumption that the “hate” generated at schools comes from children of Trump supporters. “They’re just parroting back what they hear,” one professor of education psychology assures the Star. Among all the authorities quoted, there is not a single dissenting voice.
Worse, the reporters write as though they were born in the last few weeks. The incident that leads the story involves a female student from Kenya who attended a school dance in Olathe in a black dress. They describe the incident thusly: “A young white male she didn’t know commented that the shade of the dress matched Irene’s skin. ‘It’s hard to see the difference,’ he said.
That’s it? What the reporters fail to see is this: educators have been defining intolerance down for the last fifty years. Not too long a student from Kenya could not have gone to a high school in Olathe. In reality, students today are remarkably more “tolerant” than they were a generation ago, often to the point of social paralysis.
The reporters cite the case of the sit-down strike at Lawrence High School triggered by school athletes who reportedly made “transphobic” comments in a group chat. Just five years ago the word “transphobic” didn’t exist. Twenty years ago shows like “Saturday Night Live” openly mocked “Pat,” the “sexually fluid” star of skit and movie of the same name.
The educational left has been sowing a minefield around its protected classes–an ever expanding list of “minorities” including Muslims and LGBTQs. As a result, the non-protected classes grow increasingly wary of venturing into their territories, and the protected grow increasingly sensitive to the slightest intrusion.
Meanwhile students who are Christian, straight and patriotic have their very identities challenged by the authorities themselves. The Star includes this unwittingly revealing assessment by Kelli Hopkins, an attorney with the Missouri School Board Association. Hopkins assures the Star, as paraphrased, “A young person’s belief in ‘America First’ or support for stricter enforcement of immigration laws can’t be summarily censored at school.” Implied in her statement is that those beliefs are somehow suspect and implicitly racist.
Hopkins adds that students can be disciplined “when their speech spills into the classroom and becomes disruptive to the education process.” As we have seen in incidents around the country “disruptive” can mean wearing a MAGA hat, bringing a Bible to class, challenging Darwinism, or questioning gay marriage.
Sixty percent of the citizens in the Star’s market area know there is another side to this story. Most have lost hope that the Star will ever report it.