Hate is Taught

By Emily Ducey (Champlain College Undergraduate)

My dream is to become a second-grade teacher. Today was the first time in my life I got caught up in thinking about the question, “Do I really want to do this anymore?”

One day, I will have to begin to teach the children in my future classroom about power. There is absolutely no avoiding it. I will have to look fifteen to twenty-five innocent, beautiful, and peaceful faces in the eyes and tell them about power. We will talk about authority figures, like parents, teachers, principals, police officers; and we’ll have to talk about the president. How do I explain to children how Donald Trump is respected? How he came to power? How do I tell a bully that bullying people will not get them exactly what they want? 

As a freshman in college studying Early Childhood and Elementary Education, I am grateful that in four years time I will just be entering the “real” world, and hopefully, Donald Trump will be on his way out of office. Hopefully, that is, just like I had hoped he would not win in the first place. But that doesn’t change the fact that I will be entering a broken system, and I’m terrified.

The results are only just beginning to sink in. I haven’t gotten the chills thinking about his presidency, and I haven’t planned to leave the country yet, but I also never thought this outcome was realistic. I haven’t quite allowed myself to let this result impact my future career until now. I’ve been numb, but now I feel a gaping and sharp-edged void within myself. It’s a void threatening to swallow my passion, and one that is attempting to drain a heart that was so incredibly full just over a week ago on my birthday. Children at the after-school program I work at joined together to make me a birthday card signed by everyone, and wrote a beautiful note on the program whiteboard, right next to a rather flattering drawing labeled “Miss Emily,” accompanied with a heartwarming message. I walked all the way home with an unmanageable smile all the way across my face. But what happens now? I feel as though this growing void is succeeding in washing away the luster and truth in that smile.

But I have something to hold on to.

Let me tell you about the that people I work with. 

They are bright, they are passionate, they are considerate, they are loving, brave, kind, confident, and peaceful. And they are completely human, and unapologetically themselves. They’re four, five, six, and seven-year-olds, and they’re already better people than half the country.

Don’t begin to think they’re all sunshine and rainbows, though. They are loud, tough, egocentric, pushy, rough, determined, aggressive, and bold; so believe me when I say that it is a blessing that they are your future and mine. Why? Because here’s what they are NOT: These children are not violent, they are not hateful, they are not racist, they are not misogynistic, and they are not fools. Children are not born with a hateful atom in their body. Hate is taught. Again? HATE is TAUGHT. And that kind of teaching is not the type that I will EVER take part in contributing to. 

The problem with this is that this promise is only my promise. I will promise this as a teacher in a school, I will promise this when I am a parent, and I will promise this whenever I am in any position of power or authority to anyone. What we all may not realize is that everyone is a teacher. Everyone. And I need for you to make this promise as well - that you will not infect our youth, our future, with hate.

I do not hate Trump, and I do not hate Trump supporters. In fact, I am relieved that such a gaping problem in America is now out in the open for all to see. It’s there for people who were SURE Hillary would win, those who pushed their nerves to the side because when it came down to it, the good in America would push through. I’m glad that the truth is out there and unavoidable. 

Now that it is clear that Donald Trump represents the feelings and desires for so much of the country, it is time to start from the dust, and rebuild. Gandhi said that you need to be the change you wish to see in the world. Is that not what Donald Trump did, is doing, and is succeeding in doing? 

Hillary won the popular vote, as you may know. I have gotten past my anger at the situation and looked at the facts, and one is that those against Trump outnumber those for him. Hold onto that. I know that a broad audience will read this, but now I’m going to speak to the future that I will be a part of for all of my life. I suggest everyone pull up a picture of the map that shows the popular vote for ages eighteen to twenty-five. Here is your hope: We are not in any rightful or genuine way represented by Donald Trump. We are not hateful, we are progressive, we are accepting, and we have never been so determined and passionate. It is your job, millennials, to pass the peaceful flame of this generation on to the next. Teach peace, teach love, teach acceptance, teach patience, teach defiance, and teach perseverance. 

Do not flee when America needs you most. If in four years' time I enter a classroom where I am forced to integrate Christianity into my work, I have decided that I will stay and fight it. I will fight for my students, my children, my friends’ children, and every child in America until each of them has the opportunity and acceptance that I was privileged enough to have. Standing down is not an option when the freedom and lives of American youth are soon to be tainted. I hope that you read this with the intent to understand, not to reply, not to argue. And if you understand, please stand with me. 

"Do I really want to do this anymore?"

Yes. More than ever.