Latinos were among those stunned to learn the results of the past election. An unqualified, clownish, and sexist reality TV host will ascend to the White House. Trump manipulated longstanding resentments and economic insecurities, blaming immigrants, Blacks, the LGBT community, and those in Latin America for the dislocation of US workers and deteriorating economic and social conditions. Racism and right-wing nationalism, central to Trump’s campaign, will become official ideology evidenced by the appointment of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon as Trump’s chief strategist.
Not surprisingly, Trumps’ empty promise to address the economic insecurities of the middle classes and “Make America Great Again,” is quickly spiraling into a billionaire boondoggle with the installation of the financial elite or their representatives to major posts: the fumbling Rick Perry to a department he threatened to eliminate and whose name escaped him during presidential debates (Energy Department); Andrew Puzder, an anti-union CEO to the Department of Labor, and Betsy DeVos, an enemy of public education, to the Department of Education. The most extreme sector of the Republican rightwing will become key figures in the new administration.
The tendency of the mainstream media will be to attempt to normalize Trump’s regime, prioritizing access and industry profits rather than act as a check on power and hold Trump accountable to some semblance of truth. The Korean American journalist Jay Caspian Kang predicts major mainstream outlets will soon begin reducing their “identity politics writers” for those who can represent Trump well to the general public (Kang Blog). In addition, Washington loyalists and a growing segment of the political establishment will uphold the validity of a tattered democratic system. Their defense of the status quo is meant to inspire acquiescence and political conformity exactly when what is necessary is active resistance.
Soon more public dollars will begin shifting toward private concerns, supporting corporate and banking interests at the expense of the general good. Tax cuts for the wealthy will increase pressures to cut healthcare, privatize Medicare, and reduce Social Security benefits. Increased military spending will swell the national debt and lead to reductions in social spending including unemployment and food stamps while limiting attempts to stimulate job creation. Continuing federal reductions in aid to the states will result in less support for education and local calls to reduce minority initiatives.
Latinos have much at stake and more to lose. The future of DACA is unclear. However, a Trump administration will undoubtedly act as a deterrent to access for undocumented students. Increased deportations will result in more divided families. Financial assistance to college students will diminish while profit-oriented approaches to education will weaken commitment to neighborhood schools and limit postsecondary access to those with fewer resources. More students will be caught in the vice of spiraling educational costs and the long-term negative effects of college debt.
What is necessary is not conformity but leadership, organization, and popular mobilization. ILACHE is our voice in higher education. It is through our collective actions that we must continue to promote our agenda of access, equality of opportunity, and community advancement. ILACHE seeks to collaborate with others who reject Trump’s message of xenophobia and hate. The election signals the need to expand our alliances and build broad coalitions that can advance a democratic and inclusive vision of social justice.
We ask that you become an active member of our educational community. This is not a time to retreat but to double our efforts in support of students, families, and communities.
Dr. Antonia Darder 2017 Conference Keynote Speaker
Dr. Antonia Darder is a distinguished international Freirean scholar. She is a public intellectual, educator, writer, activist, and artist. She holds the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and is Professor Emerita of
Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She also holds a Distinguished Visiting faculty post at the University of Johannesburg, in South Africa.
Antonia is an American Educational Research Association Fellow and is the recipient of the Paulo Freire Social Justice Award. She has worked tirelessly for more than three decades to fiercely counter social and material inequalities at work in schools and communities. Antonia’s scholarship has consistently focused on issues of racism, political economy, social justice, and education. Her work critically engages the contributions of Paulo Freire to our understanding of inequalities in schools and society. Darder’s critical theory of biculturalism links questions of culture, power, and pedagogy to social justice concerns in education. Through her scholarship on ethics and moral issues, she articulates a critical theory of leadership for social justice, with a particular focus on the empowerment of subaltern communities.
Antonia is the author of numerous books and articles in the field, including Culture and Power in the Classroom (20th Anniversary edition), Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power and Freire and Education. She is also co-author of After Race: Racism After Multiculturalism and co-editor of The Critical Pedagogy Reader, Latinos and Education: A Critical Reader, and the International Critical Pedagogy Reader, which was awarded the 2016 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award. In 2015,
Antonia was nominated for the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education. Through the passion of her written and spoken word and the simple beauty of her art, her work has traveled around the world, consistently calling for economic justice, human rights, and cultural democracy for all people.