For Real Teachers In Our Toughest Schools
Saturday February 17th 2018



Dear Fellow White People To The East: Let a Teacher in California Explain Why Those Other People Are So Scared and Upset


Fellow White People to the East of Here,

First of all, congratulations. We did it. We have the executive, legislative, and soon the judicial branch of government, and it seems we really will make America as great as it used to be one hundred years ago. I hope you are happy.

I am a white male, but I live in California, which makes us more like distant, distant cousins. Even so, as an educator and a white person I believe I can explain all the emotion and tears you’ve seen in the last few days, because from talking to some of you, it is clear you are confused. You don’t get why this is such a big deal.

You’ve probably noticed a lot of morose faces from all the people who have stolen your jobs, so I’d like to help your impending governmental dominance to proceed with as little pepper spray as possible. As a lifelong resident of the Bay Area I have been surrounded by these people my entire life, and even today my friends, colleagues, and family members are a big mix of black people, Latino people, Asians, Indians, Pacific Islanders, LGBTQA+ people, Muslims, Atheists, Theists, Unitarians, immigrants, undocumented people, and people who are multi-racial. I think my experience can act as a conduit to help you understand why people seem so scared and angry. So I am going to ask you to do something that I know is extremely difficult for conservative people’s brains to do: Empathize.

Now imagine Hillary Clinton had run on the following platform:

-No more Christians will be allowed in this country.

-People of Anglo descent whose ancestors came to this country to escape persecution will be rounded up and sent back to Europe on Day One.

-Heterosexuals will be denied rights other people have (and Tim Kaine would be a fan of electrocuting them to cure their heterosexuality)

-When elected I will jail my political opponent

I know, I know, this platform sounds absolutely horrible. Only an insane person would run on a platform like this. You’d be scared, especially if you happen to be a heterosexual white male Christian, which is what you are. It’s a good thing Hillary wasn’t running with this kind of change in mind, because the targeting of your family and identity is staggering, isn’t it? But I hope you can see that is exactly what your candidate ran on, in an antithetical sense. I put it like this with the hope you can see why some kids are crying today, like all the Mexican kids in my classroom whose parents could be rounded up and deported. This is why young people all throughout California marched through our streets today. Losing your parents sucks, maybe you can relate. Maybe not.

The people we defeated are a little bit scared and a little bit sick. You are neither of these things because no one is coming for you on January 20th. Imagine if Hillary had run on said platform—you probably would have thought she was a fascist. Then imagine she ran on that platform and won. You probably would be a little sick. You might be scared. So just remember that all those sulky minorities and unflamboyant gays are simply preparing for their families to be torn apart, and preparing to lose rights they’ve been accustomed to having–as long as your President-Elect keeps his word.

You also have to understand that the brownish students I teach are immersed in social media just like your kids. With the rise of your candidate your kids are posting things about my students telling them they will be deported, they will be on the other side of a wall, and that they are ruining this country. I hope you can understand how this can make a child freak out a little bit. Again, I don’t expect this to bother you too much, because you feel the same way; your kids are getting all this from you. I’m not even imploring you to make it stop completely, because in all likelihood this will keep going for at least four more years. You want your kids saying these things. I get it. I’m just asking you to have some empathy for the condemned.

Look fellow whites, you have triumphed so completely I’m sure the enormity of it hasn’t fully sunk in for you either. That’s all I’m asking for, is some decompression time. You are about to get everything you’ve ever wanted, especially with all three branches of government locked in like Mitch McConnell’s dead eyes looking for seaweed (do turtles eat seaweed?). Social Security will be gutted; 20 million people will no longer have healthcare; Roe v Wade and gay marriage will vanish; welfare, disability, and unemployment will finally be on the chopping block for Paul Ryan, who hates these things. Oh, and Climate Change is now an issue of the past thanks to our pale people. Leading the world in massive immediate action to avert two degrees and even three degrees Celsius will now never happen. Hello four degrees? The new head of the EPA surely won’t believe in climate change, (which would be like the new Attorney General not believing in laws), and your vote shows you wanted this. You are on the verge of achieving completion, I can’t say I agree with any of it, but we are all allowed to have opinions and those are yours.

That brings me to another big difference between you and me. Here in California the white people I know are all trying to out-liberal each other. This is what I mean when I say we are more like cousins nine-times removed. Over here we think black lives actually matter. We don’t want mass extinctions of half the animals on this planet. We want a single-payer system like every other advanced country. We want the world to be cleaner and more sustainable. Hell, we like to smoke weed at gay weddings with the prospect of having premarital intercourse with a Muslim later that night. We don’t even allow guns at these kinds of events. I know, I get it. You probably can’t imagine a worse way to spend an evening. I guess to us over here in California it would be comparable to an all-white wedding in Alabama with confederate flag themed bridesmaids dresses, where everyone has an assault rifle, and for fun you electro-shock the gay attendees with cattle-prods once you figure out who they are–like a game of Clue: Confederate Wedding Edition. Clearly we get our kicks in different ways and vote accordingly.

So even though we are all white, and we have our differences, I just want to make sure your transition into complete and utter dominance is done with a shred of understanding, because it seems like many of you haven’t caught on to why these people are so gosh-darn bothered. Have a little empathy—not tons of it mind you, I’m not delusional—just a little. Over here in California we’ll be okay. While all your shenanigans were happening Tuesday, we were busy keeping our Senate and Assembly blue to go with our blue governor, and we were legalizing weed. We elected a black woman to the senate. Ridiculous, I know. If only we could bring Strom Thurmond back from heaven… I guess what I’m saying is not to expend too much energy on us over here, we might not be around for much longer anyway (#calexit anyone?), just try and exercise some humility for those poor diverse people in that giant red area on those touch-screen electoral maps. They just don’t understand how the candidate who got the most votes wasn’t elected. Show some pity, they thought this was some sort of democracy.

So remember, those people are scared because we are coming for them. I thought you understood this, but I wanted to clarify. They know what our plans are because Donald Trump has been saying them out loud into microphones for a year. We are coming for their rights because that was the platform we ran on and won with. They are not confused about this because we have made it clear we do not want them in our America. They are sick and they are scared, and if I was them, I would be too. But I am lucky because no President elect would ever run on a platform discriminating against me. I am white, just like you, and no one is coming for us.


Reader Feedback

18 Responses to “Dear Fellow White People To The East: Let a Teacher in California Explain Why Those Other People Are So Scared and Upset”

  1. Bianca Diaz says:

    From one teacher to another, writing from the Artichoke Capital of the world, and I also had to look into the eyes of teary-eyed children, Thank you for finding the words for me!!!!
    Bianca Diaz

  2. Anne Griffin says:

    Thank you from another teacher in California. One of my many Hispanic students said, in her soft, shy voice, “Mrs. Griffin, I’m not worried about myself, because I was born here, but my mom and dad were not and now they might have to leave. I don’t want my parents to go away, because who will take care of me?” I hugged her and we both cried. I felt like such a liar for telling her it would be ok. I don’t know if it ever will. Donald Trump’s words ring in my ears every time I stand in front of my multi-ethnic classroom of beautiful children who will someday, hopefully make their mark on our world. I tell them not to listen to the hateful words and bullying that came from the person is now elected to lead our country. Our anti-bullying efforts at school is now going to be even more difficult. We would call this a “teachable moment”, but the lesson seems lost when the bully wins.

    • Thanks Anne,
      All the progress with bullying is now gone. This is going to get worse and worse very quickly. At least some of us know who to protect, and we will have to do our best to protect everyone.

  3. Jess says:

    Thank you for this Matt – spreading it far and wide in the hopes that SOME empathy can be elicited.

  4. Amanda says:

    You are part of the problem if you’re “over there” perpetuating these stereotypical idiocies. You’re generalizing all people from the east and especially the south are racist, ignorant, bigots and that is not the case. I appreciate the perspective but its divisiveness like this that causes problems.

    • Amanda,
      Look at the news, it is already starting. Donald Trump and his supporters have changed the fabric of this country. You don’t want to admit it just yet, but wait and see. It is already happening all over the country, white people in black face, waving confederate flags, bullying people on buses and on city streets. You have enabled those people and legitimized their perspective. Don’t you dare turn this around on anyone else. The false-equivalency of the election is past and we are left with ONE president. You own this now. Own it.

  5. Amanda says:

    See what I mean. You have no idea who I voted for. You just assumed since I disagree with you that I am one of “those Trump supporters.” What we need at this time is not people telling children what bad people all those Trump supporters are. Sadly, there was no choice in this year’s election. What I’m finding is that most people didn’t really support fully either candidate but rather we were just voting against another one. I’m not disagreeing with the fact that maybe things change for the worse. I disagree with all this division. Can we lump every Hilary supporter together and say that they are all lying, deceitful, evil, murderers?? I refuse to be labeled as a hater. I will continue to go into my classroom and teach love and tolerance for all just as I’ve always done. I’ll attempt to calm any fears students have and squelch any wrong attitudes that crop up. I’ll do it because I love all people regardless of any political ideals that I might have. I’ll do all of this as soon as I beat stage IV cancer and get back to my classroom. Until then, I’ll promote love and tolerance from my bed and I’ll never assume that every member of one group of people are evil.

    • Amanda, you sound like an amazing teacher, I wish you well. Like you, I am on the party of tolerance and I am against bigotry and oppression. I am tired of being nice to bigots, maybe I need to reevaluate that, but for now I will not normalize this.

  6. Elsa S. says:

    Thank you for writing this piece… and for bringing awareness to our students and children’s
    Current reality.

  7. Andrea says:

    Thank you Bianca because I too am worried about those same children! Well stated article.

  8. Andrea says:

    Oh and Amanda I hope you beat your cancer and yes continue to reach love and tolerance to all children as I shall too.

  9. R Jones says:

    All I’ve got to say is boo hoo & BULLSHIT! You bunch of crybaby, thumb sucking bed wetters. If people are afraid it’s their own fault for being here illegally. If the children of such illegals are afraid it’s their parents fault, not ours. You left wing boneheads have had it your way for far too long…free give sways will soon be over. You didn’t see any conservatives or the dreaded white male burning effigies, turning over police cars or rioting after the worst president in history was elected by the free hand out crowd. No, all you liberal, gimme my free healthcare and obama phone folks got exactly what you’ve been cramming down our throats for the past 8 years. Did you once hear brun Hillary talk about what she would do for the working man & women who feed not only their families but also the thousands of lazy AHs on welfare. No she only promised to keep illegals in our country and let in thousands more. You guys got what you had coming, live with it!

    • R, you have got to be kidding me asking have we seen white conservatives burning effigies of Obama. Are you really that removed from reality? That is a rhetorical question. You guys have been hanging nooses with Obama, calling him a witch doctor, and most of the people in your party won’t even admit he is an American citizen. Your ignorance always amazes me. History will judge Obama just like it judged Bush and it will judge Trump. After 8 years of Bush you guys can’t even mention his name if you want to run for office because he brought our country to ruin. Look at the country now, it is fine. It is not on the verge of collapse. All your talk about Obama is weird. We will see what happens with Trump. I would guess Liberals will once again be correct, just like we obviously were about Bush and Obama.

  10. Ana says:

    How can you preach empathy while completely ignoring the other side of the coin? Not that I support Trump but this article severely lacks important information about why he was elected in the first place. You fail to bring up statistics about illegal immigration which so many people have found alienation in in their own country. Saying Trump wants to “round up all the POC” is a total misunderstanding of the issues at hand and only further perpetuates more ignorance of the current political atmosphere. The response to this election has compleltly disgusted me and I do hope you can prove me wrong but heres my case. The entirety of those who voted for Trump have been called racist and only acknowledged as far as this label. Sure, there were a lot of people who voted for Trump because they are racist (I won’t dismiss the fact that the KKK put out a frontpage ad on their newspaper when he won) but to say all were is utterly false. Here too I think we must acknowledge there were probably a lot of people who voted for Hillary just because she is a woman or didn’t vote for Hillary because shes a women, my point here is people vote for stupid reasons all the time and rarely does looking at degenerates who voted for a candidate actually reflect the candidate entirely. You could say that Trump called all Mexicans who came into this country “drugs dealers and rapists” and yes I do think this was a little absurd but again you have to acknowledge where hes coming from. There is a large statistic which proves many illegal immigrants came here illegally simply because they couldn’t legally. The harm of this rhetoric, as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you is it fails to acknowledge all the families who aren’t criminals, who only want the best for themselves and their families. Again, Trump is arrogant and rude but there is some truth in what he has been saying, and to not acknowledge the facts of the matter is just intellectual suicide. I understand the fear of these families who have come to America for a better life but honestly there are laws for a reason; we don’t restrict immigration because we want to keep America all white, and reducing it to such really makes me question your awareness of the issue. There are vast economical implications of having so many undocumented people inside a country. Further these people all acknowledged the risk they were taking when they came to this country illegally. Again, if I’m wrong here I welcome your response which I will read with an open mind. But people just ignore these facts! They say “Trump is a bigot” and they leave it at that since thats all that constitutes an opinion in America; nothing beyond “I believe its this who are you to disagree with me?” And God forbid I bring up these facts to my friends, lest I get branded a racist.

    • Ana, what is the worst part of this election to me is the normalization of bigotry and racism. Everyone out there, you included throughout your response, say “Yes, he is racist, but…Yes he is a sexual predator but…” For me the conversation stops there. There are no “buts” on these issues, and “Yes he is racist” is where I put my foot down. Sure, not all the people who voted for him are racists, but a hell of a lot of them are, so fuck those people. I’m not here to make friends with them, as a writer I am here to call them out. Your awareness of the immigration issue worries me. Immigrants bring so many economic benefits to this country it is ridiculous, not the other way around. Also, immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes, which is something else I’ve heard from no on else in this election. Look it up. You know who else came here illegally? Your ancestors, and mine, and the pilgrims. People cannot be illegal, people have migrated throughout human history to escape persecution and to look for better futures. We used to be the country where they could find that, but that isn’t true if you are brown evidently.

  11. Amanda says:

    I agree with the other Amanda.
    I did not vote for Trump. I am 200% with her and I will continue to fight for the liberal agenda. I have cried countless times since last Tuesday over the fate of our country and our people because I am scared and I have consoled students who are scared. Yet, I teach in the land of Mitch McConnell.
    Wait….what? According to your article that can’t possibly be true. I can’t live in the middle of the country and be on your team. According to your article I live in a white-washed, confederate flag flying, gun toting hell hole.
    Well, guess what? Californians aren’t the only people with students and friends of different races, sexes, religions, or immigration statuses. And you certainly aren’t the only people scared right now, or the only people that understand why Donald Trump is such a dangerous and disastrous pick.
    Your divisive language is no better than that of the opposition. And it is no way to build bridges or solve problems. Instead, it’s alienating even to the people that agree with you!
    I really hope you aren’t passing this manner of “conflict resolution” on to your students.

    • Jesus give me a break, now I have to hear from liberals too? Amanda, clearly my article isn’t directed to you, I can’t even fathom how you would think it was. You are a liberal with the same values as me, that is awesome. If you live in a hell hole that must be because there are a bunch of confederate flag wavers and gun toters. Are you actually telling me you are not surrounded by confederate flag wavers and gun lovers? Am I wrong about that? I don’t think so. Yes my language is divisive, that is because I cannot believe that after 8 years of a party that said their whole goal is to have Obama fail, and who refused to govern, putting politics over the good of the country, that liberals like you are going to say other liberals like me are being divisive. Don’t tell me I’m being divisive after the most hateful campaign in the history of this country. I am on the side of tolerance and I am against all bigotry, and I will keep writing to defend that against those who want to tear our country down.

  12. Denny says:

    Its pretty clear that you have never spent significant time outside of California. How can you call yourself a teacher and simplify Trump’s platform to a matter of racism? It has been clear for months now that his provocative rhetoric was a means to stand out among the many Republican candidates, and that he never had any intention of building a wall or deporting Muslims. Where does the anti-homosexual fear come from anyway? Obama and Trump are the two most gay-friendly men to have ever held the office of president.

    I can excuse the kids for doing it, they haven’t seen enough of the world yet. But a grown man parroting MSM is not who I believe should be responsible for the education of teenagers. Your article does make one thing clear though: California and Alabama should not be governed by the same central body.

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