The mother of the Royal Oak 7th grader who shot the “Built the Wall” video talks about the climate of racial intimidation within the school

Last Wednesday, the day after Donald Trump was elected our 45th president, Alicia Ramon’s 7th grade daughter Josie texted her from the cafeteria of Royal Oak Middle School, where several white students had begun pounding on their tables and chanting “Build the wall,” while staring at their hispanic classmates. In her text, Ramon’s daughter, who was one of those Hispanic students being addressed, included the short video you’ll find at the end of this post, which has since been seen by thousands on social media. Thanks to a mutual friend, I was put in touch with Ramon shortly after the incident, and we’ve been exchanging messages ever since. What follows is our conversation.


MARK: Can you tell me what happened at Royal Oak Middle School last Wednesday?

ALICIA: My daughter Josie informed me that, during lunch, a student went around to the tables and told his fellow white students to start chanting at a specific time. Then, she said, the chanting began. It started low, but it grew, as her fellow students began pounding their fists and raising their voices. According to her, and another non-Latino friend – to protect her identity, I’ll call her “K” – as time went on, more tables began to join in, chanting “Build The Wall.” And this was directed at the Latino students in the cafeteria. Josie said she looked over at her friend Isabel’s table, and saw that all of Isabel’s friends were chanting as well, pounding their fists on the table. It appeared, according to Josie, that they were focusing it directly at her. She then saw Isabel get up and leave the cafeteria crying. Josie said she recorded it, even though she was hurt, upset and afraid of the other students. She said she knew that it was wrong, and made a decision that she wasn’t going to tolerate it any longer!

MARK: And how did you hear about this? Did Josie contact you to tell you what had happened, or did you receive word from the school?

ALICIA: My daughter sent me the video via text Wednesday at 11:15 AM, with the caption “build a wall.” There were also crying emojis. Her text continued, “Mom they were chanting it.” She then asked, “Are you there?” …I went to the school immediately.

MARK: How was she when you got to her?

ALICIA: I didn’t see her immediately, as I was in the office waiting to speak to the Principal. When I did see her, after school, her eyes were swollen, as if she’d been crying. She appeared to be in shock. She was numb. I gave her a hug, and together we began to write the Facebook post.

MARK: Would I be right to assume that the video we’ve all seen on social media is the video that Josie shot and sent to you on Wednesday morning?

ALICIA: Yes, it’s the same video.

MARK: Was it a difficult decision to go public with the video, knowing how Josie’s classmates might respond?

ALICIA: Yes, the decision was very difficult for us.

MARK: And what did your Facebook post accompanying the video say?

ALICIA: I’ve tried to locate the post, but it might have been taken down. Basically, in the post, we provided background on the incidents that pre-dated the election — the instance where a student said “Mexicans are dumbasses,” the time a “Mexican Joke of the Day” video played for all of the students during the student news hour, the time when a student replied to a question posed by Josie by saying, “I don’t speak taco,” and the incident a week prior to the election when racial slurs and jokes were said to Josie in class. We posted it to shed a light on a systemic problem within the school. We wanted to make it clear that this was not an isolated incident, and that it shouldn’t be solely blamed on the rhetoric of the election. There was also a prior post that asked parents to have conversations with their children about the incident.

MARK: It would seem, based upon what we can hear the children chanting in the video, that this most recent incident is directly tied to the rhetoric of the Trump campaign, which focused largely on the idea of building a wall along the southern border to keep Mexicans out of the United States. But, as you say, this started earlier. When did Josie first start experiencing things like this happening?

ALICIA: We’ve encountered ethnic and racial intimidation at the school since she was in the 6th grade.

MARK: While, as you say, this isn’t an altogether new phenomenon in your daughter’s school, do you get the sense that things are getting worse right now due to the racist rhetoric surrounding the election?

ALICIA: Possibly… She and other minority students have endured racial slurs, “jokes,” intimidation in the past, but the election certainly didn’t help. There was another incident a week ago. But perhaps the election gave these students a louder voice. Maybe they felt further entitled and empowered to use the platform to send a louder message to the minority students.

MARK: Has the school made an effort to ensure that things like this don’t continue to happen?

ALICIA: They’ve put out a statement, and a video announcement to the students, which is available on their website. While I was encouraged initially, I understand that not all teachers spoke with their students about the incident, as the principal’s email update had stated. Also, some students, rather than focusing on their own actions, have further bullied and intimidated Josie. And it was apparently discussed in the some of the classrooms that, since Josie took the video, she should be suspended. Teachers either initiated these conversations, or did nothing to correct the students who proposed the idea that Josie be suspended. On Friday, her science teacher told the entire class, including her, that “the person who took the video is immature, and the person who posted it is irresponsible.”

MARK: She must be a strong kid… What, if anything, has she done to fight back, other than posting the video, of course? Have she and her fellow students of color started to organize in any way?

ALICIA: She suggested to the Assistant Principal that the students be able to create a diversity club, and Josie is working on making that happen. And, at the same time, a group of parents and community stakeholders have started organizing to address the district and the school directly. Also, a student group independent of the school is being created. Their first meeting will be this Saturday, and Josie, along with some of her friends, will be participating.

MARK: I don’t suspect it’s any comfort to hear this, but I was talking with Mark Fancher of the Michigan ACLU last night and he mentioned that, since the election, he’s received “an avalanche” of correspondences from across the state, alerting him to incidents like the one your daughter experienced.

ALICIA: That is heartbreaking, sad and un-American. Perhaps our efforts here in Royal Oak can be replicated across other communities… We have to rise up and stand for our children across this country.

MARK: If you’re interested, I’d be happy to put you in touch with Mark. I know that he and the ACLU are actively looking to hold districts with histories of ignoring such things accountable.

ALICIA: Thank you, but I contacted the ACLU immediately following the incident. They’ve been responsive, and they’re assisting in this effort.

MARK: What can you tell us about the racial diversity within the school? Would I be right to assume that the school is predominantly white?

ALICIA: Yes, the school is predominantly caucasian.

MARK: What kinds of action has the school taken since this happened? And do you think it’s sufficient?

ALICIA: Initially, none. The day it happened, I asked the 7th grade principal for an apology for all the students affected, and for a letter to be sent home to inform all parents about the incident, so that they could talk with their children, and let them know that this type of behavior isn’t be be tolerated. He said the request was not unreasonable, but that he had to clear it with leadership. As no letter has come home with my child, that apparently hasn’t happened.

It is unclear to me whether or not the school has reprimanded that students involved.

In today’s conversation with a reporter, Josie stated that she felt the “whole thing was minimized” -at school. Understandably so, the response was that it was shut down immediately. Josie and her friend, however, recall it differently. Josie said that it died down on its own, and not because of teacher intervention. She says it went on for about three minutes, and that the Principal was present in the lunchroom when it happened. Also, she’s told me that the chant happened again at the end of the school day, in the gym.

MARK: And would I be right to imagine that the school’s response changed somewhat once you went public with the video?

ALICIA: Yes and no. The district Superintendent sent out an email in the morning. And the Principal created a video message for students. And some teachers did initiate classroom discussions about the incident, race, etc. But it wasn’t universal. And they sent out an email at the end of the day, which is also available on the website. However, on that very day Josie was further intimidated by other students, who were saying that she should be suspended. Josie texted me at 10:50 AM on Thursday, saying, “Mom, the video is in the Detroit Free Press, and I think everybody’s mad at me.”

It was alleged in Saturday’s parent meeting, that an 8th grade social studies teacher at the school, as part of her lesson plan, told the only African American student in her class to demonstrate how the slaves danced for their masters. The student refused, and the teacher threatened her grade. The student went to the office in tears, and was not in school on Friday.

Josie went to school again on Friday, and it was in her science class that her teacher said that the person who took the video of the chanting was immature and the person who posted it was irresponsible. Josie said it made her feel bad, because everyone knew that she recorded the video, and that I posted the video.

So, again, I went to the school today, to discuss the issue of a teacher bullying and intimidating a student–Jose. I did meet with both the Assistant Principal and Principal. It was a very tense meeting, in the end we found common ground –Josie’s safety. It was encouraging and we agreed that we’re going to work together to make sure that every student feels safe.
In the days to come, the newly created parent group will also meet with the District Superintendent.

MARK: How has the student body reacted to this incident? Have any students, since this incident took place, come forward to offer support to the child or children being targeted for harassment?

ALICIA: Josie had a core group of friends with her at the lunch table that day, and none of them joined in on the chant. The other Hispanic/Latino/Brown students were not as fortunate. It seems like the minority students, and the students who don’t agree with the racism but don’t necessarily know how to stand up the the bullies, are glad that she did. They are supporting her, and each day that list is growing.

MARK: I’m curious as to how different schools around the state of Michigan are dealing with the election. The morning after Trump was announced the winner, my daughter’s middle school Principal sent out the following note… “We are writing to let you know that (our) staff are sensitive to the overwhelming emotions that many of our students may be experiencing after a particularly divisive presidential campaign,” she said. “We remain committed to our International Baccalaureate mission of preparing open-minded, caring, and reflective citizens of the world. We sent staff the following message below and encourage you to contact our counselors and teachers if you have any specific concerns about your child, so we can support them appropriately. We care deeply about the academic, social, emotional, and mental well being of all students and we will be vigilant about ensuring we maintain a culture of inclusion and respect of all perspectives and voices.” Attached to this note, was the following letter, which was sent to staff earlier that same morning.

Dear staff,

Please be mindful of the fact that many of our students (and colleagues) have been up all night watching the presidential election and are likely overwhelmed with emotion. This election year has been particularly divisive and we ask you to provide consistency and security for students at a time of uncertainty. Given our richly diverse student body, with a number of students who represent, and stand up for, marginalized groups who were targeted during this election, we will have to assure our students that we will continue to stand up for our values and work within the democratic system to promote social justice and equality.

Please do not share your political views with students. This is a time for us to focus on seeking understanding and promoting unity. Below is a quote from the huffington post. Feel free to reference it in your response to students and encourage students to get involved with the social justice alliance and other clubs at school that promote productive discussion of world issues. Please do your best to be positive and provide students with normalcy, especially in the next few days.

How to respond to students after the election:
“Teach (students) how to be responsible members of a civic society. Teach them how to engage in discussion—not for the sake of winning, but for the sake of understanding and being understood. Students need to learn how to check facts, to weigh news sources, to question taken-for-granted assumptions, to see their own biases, to take feedback, to challenge one another. We need to teach students how to disagree—with love and respect. These skills will be priceless in the coming months and years as we work to build a democratic society that protects the rights of all people ― regardless of the cooperation or resistance those efforts face from the executive branch.”

Please be kind and patient with each other today and everyday. Offer and ask for support knowing we are united in our commitment to students and staff.

Are you aware of anything similar having been shared with faculty and staff at the Royal Oak Middle School? I’m just curious as to whether this caught them completely off guard.

ALICIA: No, I am not aware of anything like this.

MARK: What advice do you have, if any, for parents who are worried about sending their children to school in the current environment?

ALICIA: The intimidation of children based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religious affiliation or legal status is un-American. No child should be afraid of going to school.

It takes all of us to keep our children safe in school. The parents, teachers, school administrators, and extended community. Let’s stand united and not in fear. Join a parent group or create one that will protect all children. Within that group there will be many roles you can fill. Participate at the level you are comfortable at. Sometimes, that means behind the scenes, writing letters, organizing, or whatever contribution you can. You are not alone, Stand, Unite and Fight for our children.

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  1. Loser Larson
    Posted November 14, 2016 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Trump Nation.


  2. Kim
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Please, everyone, share this with your school administrators and ask that they talk with the members of their staff about how to address incidence like these before they happen.

  3. Thom Elliott
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Trump Jugend are enemies of your society as much as their parents. Trump Jugend are the vanguard of the even more aggressive Trumpism of tomorrow, and as such are just enemies. No sympathy for Trump Jugend or Trumpists or else you will be regarded as collaborators. Period. You Vichy libs who sympathize with a Trump Jugend because they are children makes you a Trumpist collaborator. Period.

  4. M
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting the way they turned it around on the student who took the video, suggesting that she was at fault for having brought negative, and potentially dangerous, attention to the school. It’s also telling that they would bring in the police to ensure that their students are protected from potential protesters, but not to ensure that their students of color feel safe from their fellow students. I hope the ACLU involvement makes them take this seriously.

  5. Shane Davis
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The issue seems to start at these children’s homes then carry over to the faculty and staff at the school in almost a transparent way.

    What is happening everywhere? Are we becoming hardcore Nationalists?!

  6. Stacia Proefrock
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    i was at a neighborhood meeting on Saturday night with some activist women and one of the topics that came up was how those of us who have experience in school administration could constructively engage with the leaders in Royal Oak and DeWitt and other districts that have had racist incidents crop up. Having the details about what the school has and has not done is helpful.

  7. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Get help, Thom.

  8. Mr. X
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Alicia said in the interview that this behavior on the part of other students predated the election, as it started last year, when her daughter was in 6th grade. Given that the presidential campaign has been going on for over a year, though, I think you could make the case that there is a real connection.

  9. Lisa Voelker
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Pretty clear that ROM hasn’t done what they are mission-ed to do as an upstanding IB Middle Years program…

  10. KVJ
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve been looking for some context and all I could find was the school’s PR response.

  11. Anna Boone
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    My daughter is in RO elementary, so I’m not directly involved, but I’m very concerned about what this says about our district.

  12. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Noonan: “Without mistakes we do not learn.”

  13. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I think EOS wrote this.

    This is fucking comedy. This is crap that white supremacists want to hear.

    The olive branch to black people. lol

    Methinks that he want to develop the “inner cities” so he can grab the land and put in condos for rich people.

    “November 11, 2016: Surrogates for Donald Trump’s transition team reached out directly to – the most visited African American website in the world – and asked us to deliver this ‘New Deal’ to our readers. It’s the President Elect’s olive branch to Black people. We’ve published it in its entirety, and offer no judgments to its merits.

    Nobody needs to tell African-Americans in this country that the old new deal from the Democratic Party isn’t working for them. In election after election, Democratic party leaders take African-American voters for granted and year after year the condition of Black America gets worse. The conditions in our inner cities today are unacceptable. Too many African-Americans have been left behind.

    African-Americans need a new deal from their next president. Donald Trump is proposing just that. The following are ten promises announced by Donald Trump on October 26, 2016 in Charlotte, NC that will define a new deal for Black America:

    1. Great Education Through School Choice. We will allow every disadvantaged child in America to attend the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. School choice is the great civil rights issue of our time, and Donald Trump will be the nation’s biggest cheerleader for school choice in all 50 states. We will also ensure funding for Historic Black Colleges and Universities, more affordable 2 and 4-year college, and support for trade and vocational education.

    2. Safe Communities. We will make our communities safe again. Every poor African-American child must be able to walk down the street in peace. Safety is a civil right. We will invest in training and funding both local and federal law enforcement operations to remove the gang members, drug dealers, and criminal cartels from our neighborhoods. The reduction of crime is not merely a goal – but a necessity.

    3. Equal Justice Under the Law. We will apply the law fairly, equally and without prejudice. There will be only one set of rules – not a two-tiered system of justice. Equal justice also means the same rules for Wall Street.

    4. Tax Reforms to Create Jobs and Lift up People and Communities. We will lower the business tax from 35 percent to 15 percent and bring thousands of new companies to our shores. We will also have a massive middle class tax cut, tax-free childcare savings accounts, and childcare tax deductions and credits. We will also have tax holidays for inner-city investment, and new tax incentives to get foreign companies to relocate in blighted American neighborhoods. We will empower cities and states to seek a federal disaster designation for blighted communities in order to initiate the rebuilding of vital infrastructure, the demolition of abandoned properties, and the increased presence of law enforcement.

    5. Financial Reforms to Expand Credit to Support New Job Creation. We will have financial reforms to make it easier for young African-Americans to get credit to pursue their dreams in business and create jobs in their communities. Dodd-Frank has been a disaster, making it harder for small businesses to get the credit they need. The policies of the Clintons brought us the financial recession – through lifting Glass-Steagall, pushing subprime lending, and blocking reforms to Fannie and Freddie. It’s time for a 21stcentury Glass Steagall and, as part of that, a priority on helping African-American businesses get the credit they need. We will also encourage small-business creation by allowing social welfare workers to convert poverty assistance into repayable but forgive-able micro-loans.

    6. Trade That Works for American Workers. We will stop the massive, chronic trade deficits that have emptied out our jobs. We won’t let our jobs be stolen from us anymore. We will stop the offshoring of companies to low-wage countries and raise wages at home – meaning rent and bills become instantly more affordable. We will tell executives that if they move their factories to Mexico or other countries, we will put a 35% tax on their product before they ship it back into the United States.

    7. Protection from Illegal Immigration. We will restore the civil rights of African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and all Americans, by ending illegal immigration. No group has been more economically harmed by decades of illegal immigration than low-income African-American workers. Hillary’s pledge to enact “open borders,” – made in secret to a foreign bank – would destroy the African-American middle class. We will reform visa rules to give American workers preference for jobs, and we will suspend reckless refugee admissions from terror-prone regions that cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. We will use a portion of the money saved by enforcing our laws, and suspending refugees, to re-invested in our inner cities.

    8. New Infrastructure Investment. We will leverage public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years, of which the inner cities will be a major beneficiary. We will cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama-Clinton, including all global warming payments to the United Nations. This will save $100 billion over 8 years. We will use these to help rebuild the vital infrastructure, including water systems, in America’s inner cities.

    9. Protect the African-American Church. We will protect religious liberty, promote strong families, and support the African-American church.

    10. America First Foreign Policy. We will stop trying to build Democracies overseas, wasting trillions, but focus on defeating terrorists and putting America First.”

  14. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I wonder why Alicia’s daughter interpreted the words “build the wall” as hateful and racist? Did she learn to be afraid at home? Maybe it is just an example of some 7th grade republicans who happen to believe in stricter immigration policies? Is it now mandatory for 7th graders to believe in an open border policy?

  15. C.D.
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    This is reprehensible. I am just sickened by the ugliness and vitriol- poor children who are subjected to bigoted and threatening behavior not only from their peers, but from teachers and admins on top of that. Dammit.

  16. kjc
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    lol. good one FF.

  17. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I have to go back to the States because I can’t be homeless without a visa anywhere else, but I really don’t want to go back.

    You guys are fucked.

  18. Eel
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Jesus, FF, that’s insane.

    It’s almost as crazy as Team Trump telling black Americans that they’re going to end illegal immigration in order to keep them safe, as though that’s what’s keeping black folks down. (“We will restore the civil rights of African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and all Americans, by ending illegal immigration. “)

  19. Colleen Kennedy
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    This whole election has been so eye opening. According to my daughter who is an 11th grader, chants of “build a wall” are not that uncommon at her school. I was shocked to learn that.

  20. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Well, that’s what people tell themselves and have for centuries.

    Slave owners weren’t stupid. They knew how to put white against black, by blaming their plight on cheap black labor.

    “You would be making more money if it weren’t for those black people.”

    Wealthy landowners in the north convinced low wage white farm laborers that they would make more money if it weren’t for all those freed slaves pouring over the border.

    It’s an effective means of control, and here it is happening all over again.

  21. Lynne
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Holy Shit, FF? Even if what you said is a joke, that is pretty awful.

  22. kjc
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    FF has always been dumber than a 7th grader. and reasoned at freshman comp level. nothing new. please no more accusations of “sophistry” FF.

  23. Ian Fulcher
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Frosted Flake, you live up to your pseudonym. Cold and not a little stupid. 7th graders who use this language aren’t being political, they’re being bullies.
    You have thrown your hat with them.

  24. Ian Fulcher
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    * “in” with them

  25. Lisa
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    You wonder why she thought “build the wall” was hateful? When was building a wall ever welcoming?

    Building a wall is not American. THIS is American:

    Give me your tired, your poor,
    your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

  26. Charles
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    The schools’ response is weasel-words and false compassion at the worst. This sort of behavior should merit instant suspension, a public apology and a note on your permanent record.

  27. maryd
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I cannot imagine sending a child to that school ever. If I were the parent, they would have an all out war on their hands. The lion mom in me wants to go defend these children right now.
    Fucking shame on Royal Oak. Why isn’t the whole community outraged and standing up for protecting their children?

  28. maryd
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    You are right Charles…weasels

  29. Nkrumah Steward
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    In high school, I had the privilege of being a part of a group we called simply US. I spent two years as a US facilitator and as a senior I was asked to write a blurb in the school yearbook about who we were and what we stood for.

    “Understanding and Sharing Diversity is a group of courageous and idealistic young men and women with the same biases and personal prepossessions allowed to any person raised in our racist society. The only thing that makes them different is that they not only acknowledge their prejudice, but are determined not to let it control their lives. These students have decided that “race” will no longer dictate their actions, or meddle in their relationships. They are a group of students who would rather bask in our similarities than highlight our differences. US is a group of students who have realized that it takes time and energy to hate, and quite frankly, don’t think it’s worth the time. They are not the only ones who feel this way. There are many people who feel the same way walking the halls of Huron High every day. They are those who have found enough character in themselves to stop adding to the problem by becoming part of the solution. We are determined that our children and our children’s children won’t ever need an US group again.”

    Sadly, tragically, US is needed now, more than ever.

    More to come.


  30. Lynne
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Why isn’t the whole community outraged and standing up for protecting their children?”

    Uh. Have you ever been to Royal Oak?

  31. RVW
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Wow! the bit about a teacher bullying an African American student to show everyone how to dance (African-style) is sickening.

  32. Kristy
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Frosted Flakes–this is like the same logic as telling a child she shouldn’t care if people shout “piggy” at her and it must be her parents fault because she would not have realized we live in a world where people make fun of fat people if they hadn’t influenced her in such a way that she was aware of these attitudes. Also, it’s not like the kids can help it if they just happen to have different perspectives on fat people and their bodies. Is it now mandatory to accept all body types? They were just expressing their opinions.

  33. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I figured FF was being sarcastic.

    Do you guys really believe that she thinks that 7th graders are concerned about border policy?

  34. Denise Heberle
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I, too, had a fleeting hope that FF was yanking us. Guess I’m still in shock. I think all those kids need protection; the little shits parroting their parents and each other should know better, and if they don’t, only the schools can help in the moment. Anyone remember the song from “South Pacific” – a deeply flawed thing but with one stellar moment I’ve never forgotten:

  35. PositivelyYpsilanti
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Hmm FF How would you react if your children were getting “politically attacked”? Pure bullying ..

  36. Thom Elliott
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Frosted Flakes cowardly anonymous poster a Vichy lib. I need to “get help” for having a strong and coherent anti-fascist ideology, but you, disgusting collaborationist Vichy lib are questioning whether these Trump Jugend are being racist or not by chanting a racist slogan while purposefully intimidating children of color. Would send you collaborator traitor scum to start building the gulag in Alaska so fast your head would spin.

  37. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry to have to admit my ignorance, but what is a “Vichy lib?”

  38. Thom Elliott
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Reference is to Marshal Pétain’s collaborationist Vichy regime in the south of France. The Vichy region of France was where the installed Hitlerist regime in Nazi occupied France was. Frosted Flakes a lib advocate for collaboration with Trumpism. Thus a Vichy lib.

  39. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    OK, thanks.

    I hope you are well, Thom.

  40. Thom Elliott
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    A little bummed, but things are looking up. Hope you can figure out where to go, and that you are doing well despite the craziness

  41. Jcp2
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Pete, I owe you and Mark dinner at Suvai Palace when you come back. It’s the new name for Raja Rani.

  42. Loser Larson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Nice. I’m there.

  43. Meta
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Relevant to this conversation.

    More than a hundred parents and students showed up at the Grosse Pointe School Board meeting to support a principal, a Muslim, under attack from some parents for speaking to students about respect following the presidential election.

    Grosse Pointe South High School Principal Moussa Hamka heard from some students following the results, that others appeared to be instigating hate.

    Hamka decided to make a lengthy announcement over the public address system, calling for unity and pledging support for minority, gay and other students who might feel attacked.

    This angered a few parents who started a small campaign to get the principal fired.

    Monday night, a loud majority of supporters stood behind him, including students who spoke in his defense.

    One of the opposing parents was in the audience, but did not speak or identify themselves for comment.

    Read more:

  44. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I too took FF’s comment as a joke. I think he was trying to draw us liberals into attacking him, to show how we deflect responsibility by externalizing blame on a scapegoat. Clever trick. Poor placement.

    Scapegoats are a means of calming the will to dissent. Scapegoats are employed to diffuse broad culpability by aligning the collective anger against a representational target rather than against the system itself.

    See HRC.

  45. kjc
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    lol again. please abandon this tired storyline. you need to know better people on the left. (or stop compulsively generalizing.) but isn’t bernie your favorite scapegoat? i can’t keep up. i think you bait so-called liberals more than FF does. he just says dumb kneejerk shit to prove he’s an “independent” thinker.

  46. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Was Bernie a scapegoat. When was he vilified? When was he even held accountable in any way for his bullshit plans and will to divide the left?

    I’d he my personal scapegoat? Perhaps. I prefer to hate him than my neighbors.

    I’m extremely far left on issues of social justice. I’m just not protectionist. I hold no fantasy about the Democratic party of yesteryear because I remember that it was racist. I personally prefer that the Dem party play well with industry that creates jobs than racist social conservative ideologues. I also have no fantasy about a time when labor fulfilled liberal ideals. Power corrupts. And Labor was a tool used for racial segregation. Even Rosie the Riveter was. The hinge they were manipulated on was bigotry. thats what drew them to the GOP too. Not any great plan to address their needs. Reagan just gave their bigotry a mandate. He too promised a return to the past. A nostalgic past scrubbed clean of any racism.
    So maybe I’m moderate left fiscally in thatI believe in enterprise but way left of most bros and definitely Bernie on issues of social justice. I occupy that political space proudly with many marginalized populations.

    I won’t apologize for it.

    I have worked for progressive causes for most of my life. My family has 5 generations of women activists. Five. Generations. I have friends covering all spectrum of the left and a lot of the right.We often find areas of agreement and we often work together in those veins. We engage in political discourse from a place of mutual respect. Something you seem dispositionally incapable of offering.

    Call me what you will KJC. Laugh and scoff. Call me elitist for having a broadly democratic and pragmatic principled approach. I do the work. My perspective is shared by many people. When you laugh at us sharing the left with you but not left enough, how is it you will achieve any coalition achieve real progress? We have the coalition that is the future. The alt left does not. Let them bond with bigots. We already learned that lesson. I’m holding under the larger umbrella of ‘social justice warriors’ that embraces multiple perspectives not a party line or an economics only solution.

  47. Thom Elliott
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Liberals are not on the Left, you’re just ‘to the left’ of the Right, you have nothing in common with the Left. The “alt left” you refer to is the actual Left, anti-capitalists for a restructuring of society where the bourgeoisie are disallowed from exclusive control of the means of production. Being a capitalist means you’re disqualified from Leftism. Call yourself a Centrist, you’re in no way on the Left as a liberal progressive Democrat, which is bourgeois reformism.

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m happy to be a centrist then. But the Dem party is cnetrist then and always has been. It never belonged to the left of which you speak.

    What’s your commitment to the other wings of social justice beyond being anti-capitalist, Thom? Do you believe the needs of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people and women are adequately met by your left?

    Has that been historically the case? Examples please. And what work have you done to woo the working class of color over to the left? What work has the left done to incorporate the concerns of marginalized populations into their agenda?

    I’m seriously curious. I know many Marxists of color in Detroit. I have for years. They have had a lot of complaints about what goes on in those ranks. They feel bias is everywhere, but their commitment to collectivity remains strong.

  49. stupid hick
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    FF, let me guess when you were in grade school during show-and-tell you drew a swastika on the chalkboard and feigned, “What’s the matter, it’s a Native American symbol. It has nothing to do with disrespecting Jews, I’m honoring Native Americans!” Also I bet you tried every opportunity to try to work the word “niggardly” into conversations where “stingy” would have been fine. What a clever but misunderstood little boy I imagine you were. Just like these kids pounding the table and chanting “build the wall” at a hispanic kid.

  50. Thom Elliot
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I have been the volunteer manager of food distribution for the local food pantry for years, where I work directly with low income people of color helping them procure access to resources and food. I also have been a political activist my entire adult life, including my work with Detroit TST, on my own, and other groups. I am committed to fighting the bourgeois reactionary ideology of the oppressor classes, their running dogs, and combating liberalism. Does the Left organize Slutwalks or pantsuit walks or other forms of embarrassing SJW self flogging and dubious allyship? Not so much, but we are now organizing against the fascism you libs were unable to stop with your tepid symbolism and phony moralism. Love doesn’t trump fascism, the Left does.

  51. Eel
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Question: “Where is Frosted Flakes?”

    Answer: “Busily trying to come up with another alias, as he knows he can never come back to this one.”

  52. DN
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    It breaks my heart to read this important interview. What kids are learning by observing the adults around them…ugh.

  53. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Did you consult with Lenin or Stalin on that Thom?

  54. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Dear eeL,

    Thank you for your concern.

    I have been successfully captured, detained and deprogrammed within the confines of Commandant Elliot’s mother’s finished basement. I am still learning but I now know some of the truth: Trump Juggen are the enemies of our society. Period. No sympathy for Trump Juggen. Period. Sympathy for Trump Juggen will not be tolerated. Period. Sympathy for Trump Juggen will be considered collaboration. Period.

    That is the good news.

    Are you ready for the really good news? Shhhhhh. I overheard Commandant Elliot talking to some of the guards in the hallway in between his “interrogations” of some captured middle school Trumpists. He kept talking about the Vichy Libs and their silence over the 2.5 million deportations under Vichy Obama. I am a simple person so I don’t know the details of Obama’s deportation policies, but long story short: A lot of you guys in the community have been identified as being in need of similar capture and deprogramming. An exciting adventure awaits!

    I really hope the best for you guys so let me give you a piece of advice: The more you show yourself as being a sympathetic, especially to the Vichy Lib Juggen, i.e. your children, the better are your odds of getting shipped off to Alaska to build the Gulag! He tells us that Alaska is beautiful in the winter and that the darkness is a myth.

    “Darkness is a myth”–my favorite quote!

    Shhhhh. Be still now, our poet leader approaches.

    Lots of love,

    Raisin Bran

  55. kjc
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    deeeeeeeeeeflect. thom isn’t the problem.

  56. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    oh man i might even understand what ff is talking about..

  57. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    so I looked up deprogramming Hitler youth…and not much…although one did become a Pope, that is pretty deprogrammed, I’d say.

  58. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Dearest KJC,

    Greetings from Commandant Thom’s mother’s finished basement! Where should I begin? Toda la gloria de Commandant Thom!Thank you to my poet leader, it is because of you and only you that my ideology has become more coherent, more strong.

    First, I owe you an apology, comrade KJC. Earlier in this thread, before my conversion, I was being a misguided fool when I went out of my way to show sympathy for all of the 12 year old children in what I mis-perceived as a difficult situation. Those questions I came up with for the community were stupid and offensive!! I no longer see the situation as difficult. Commandant Thom was right when, in no uncertain terms, he said: “Trump Juggen are the enemy of our society. Period.” Strong and coherent! I trust you will accept my apology, KJC, as I have officially joined the ranks of the righteous army marching on the path, I once saw as darkened, but now see as illuminated by the spoken truth of our poet leader and savior Commandant Thom.

    Next order of business: We have a little problem. During our late mittagessen/ early abendessen my comrades and I were reading your comment, posted today at 3:37pm, which reads “thom is not the problem” and needless to say they were are all very displeased. Feeling as though you have, in a highly disrespectful way, not grasped the important work we are doing. With clenched fists and red faces, my comrades protested: “Not the problem? Not the problem? Who dares disrespect our poet leader, The Solution Most High, by referring to Commandant Thom as ‘not the problem ? Not the problem?”

    I thought they were overreacting but like you always say kjc, I am just not that persuasive.

    Anyway, I kept trying to explain who you are kjc, and I think I got through to them, so don’t worry KJC, they calmed down eventually and I think they now believe you are one of us, a valuable ally, and they now are almost convinced that this whole thing is a misunderstanding. Anyway, at this point it is more of a formality and I am sure you will not object,but my comrades have a simple and reasonable request. While they acknowledge and appreciate that you have shown implicit sympathy for Commandant Thom by not objecting, as I did sarcastically, to his pronouncements, early in this comment thread, against the enemy seventh grade swine Trump Juggen. As I am sure you can understand, in these times, sympathy is not enough, we need sworn explicit loyalties.

    This is important KJC: Upon receiving this correspondence from me, my comrades are expecting an immediate return post from you in the comments section of this blog. In order to prove your loyalties to Thom’s coherent and strong ideology your statement should be typed exactly as follows:

    “I, kjc, believe the 12 year children/chanters of ‘build the wall’ are enemies to our society. Period. I whole heartedly believe the 12 year old children/ chanters of ‘build the wall’ to be the equivalent of hitler youth. Period. I have no sympathy for these children. Period. Any person who has sympathy for these 12 year old children/chanters of ‘build the wall’ are the modern day equivalent of a Nazi collaborator. Period. There is nothing complicated about this situation. Period. Nothing about this situation warrants any sympathy for the children in question. Period.”

    Your silence to Thom’s words have already given him tacit approval, kjc, so I have no doubt you will be able to explicitly show your loyalty to our strong and coherent ideology, asap. I am counting on you KJC. I have convinced most of my comrades otherwise, but some of my comrades still don’t believe me when I tell them you are not a total asshole.

    Lots of love,

    Raisin Bran

  59. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    so..the question of what to do about the things Trump has said…one, do not do what he says, is paramount…
    two, figure out something better than his plans..the wall is stupid…it is too big…amd we have 2million criminal aliens in this country? that we don’t know about? I find that hard to believe…he is a bit of loose cannon..
    look, there are many ways to stymie a President and their agendas, we have had eight years of it..I would think by now people are really good at not doing what a President wants..Granted, it is a bicameral Republican Congress..but then again…i think people will be able to figure something out.

  60. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Trump might want to privatize EVERYTHING and then buy shares of the best of what he thinks has been privatized., but the man has leadership issues…how long before Pence runs things for real?

  61. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 17, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    and not for nothing, the man is not the President yet.Immay be the last and only person in the country who is holding out hope the Electoral College will not vote for him, when the time comes to vote.

  62. Jean Henry
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    More Trump Jugen and a bit of history behind the Build That Wall chant. Not it’s obvious origin, but it’s function at Trump rallies as a means to suppress any protest. FF your argument assumes that the kids were unduly puniched, but if you read the interview you will see that the only one unduly punished was the kid who blew the whistle. It’s very hard for me to see objecting to a group of white kids surrounding a Latina child and chanting a loaded and threatening epithet as a violation of free speech. Hate speech is not permitted in schools. The divide between political and hate speech will need to be parsed, but it seems to me that the circling of an individual itslef is an act of obvious intimidation and threat. Speech, even political, that focusses on the victim’s ethnicity makes it hate speech. Children who are bullies deserve correction. They must be corrected. If the kids didn’t want to be part of the fraught political movement, they should not have brought politics into the school. FF–Please explain without sarcasm or bluff, what it is that you find objectionable about the public or school’s response to this incident. Thanks.

  63. Posted November 18, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    For that it’s worth, there was another incident at Royal Oak Middle School today. A noose was found in a bathroom. A Facebook friend who lives in the district copied me on this email that was sent to parents. For what it’s worth, I heard that the administration is addressing this instance much more aggressively than they have the past instances which we discussed above. I’d like to think they did so because they came to realize how serious an issue it was on its own, but I suspect the fact that the ACLU threatened a lawsuit probably contributed as well. Whatever the motivation, I’m happy to hear that meaningful action is being taken.


  64. Anonymous
    Posted November 21, 2016 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    A kid confessed to placing the noose in the bathroom.

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] few days ago, as you may recall, I interviewed Alicia Ramon, the other of a student at Royal Oak Middle School, about a series of racist incidents that had […]

  2. […] how, just a few days after the election, I interviewed a woman by the name of Alicia Ramon about an incident of racial intimidation involving her daughter at Royal Oak Middle School? Well […]

  3. […] this past November, when I interviewed the mother of Josie Ramon, the 12 year old Royal Oak Middle School student who ta…, I occasionally get notes from people, asking that I help get the word out about similar things […]

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