by Remezcla Estaff May 6, 2016
Yesterday, as many Latinos braced themselves for the annual wave of tone deaf Cinco de Mayo celebrations and clueless brand Hispandering, a photo posted by Donald Trump began spreading through my Twitter timeline like a virus. In it, Trump sits at his desk in the Trump Tower, cheesing over a taco bowl and flashing a thumbs up. “Happy #CincoDeMayo!,” the image is captioned. “The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”
Like so many things Trump has said and done throughout the course of his inflammatory campaign, his Facebook post and Tweet immediately sparked an onslaught of press – from outraged reactions to thoughtful pieces on his standing with Latino voters to fawning tributes to his Twitter troll game. The end result of all of these pieces was the same: A media landscape in which Trump has the smallest campaign budgets but dwarfs other candidates in earned media. A landscape in which, as Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman recently noted in a video for AJ+, “he get[s] this unfiltered pipeline into everyone’s brain and to your eyes and to your consciousness,” while “the rest of the candidates trudge from one state to another.” It is this pipeline that in no small part helped make Donald Trump the presumptive Republican presidential nominee this week – a possibility that seemed like little more than a joke just eight months ago.
At Remezcla, we’ve long grappled with how, as an outlet dedicated to elevating Latino voices, we can responsibly cover Donald Trump. We are not alone in this. Many of our colleagues in the Latino media world have struggled to remain neutral when faced with a man who has made anti-immigrant, anti-Latino sentiment a cornerstone of his campaign. It’s why Jorge Ramos got himself ejected from a Trump press conference, and has since led a strong push for the media to condemn Trump as a racist and xenophobe. When a candidate makes his way to the general election by broadly painting Mexicans as rapists and killers, vowing to deport all of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and claiming he will build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border funded by Mexico, we have a responsibility to speak up for the community we serve.
Unfortunately, I have come to feel that our Donald Trump stories – which have ranged from flippant rebukes to outraged editorials – often do little more than bounce away into the endless echo chamber of the internet. Trump has said horrible, morally offensive things throughout his campaign, and these words have led to tangible acts of violence against Latinos and people of color all over the country. We (along with plenty of journalists) have steadily condemned him. Yet he’s all but clinched the nomination not despite this stuff, but because of it.
For this reason, we’ve decided we will no longer be giving any space on Remezcla to Donald Trump’s grotesque sideshow. Instead, we’ll be using our platform exclusively to highlight the resistance, activism and mobilization of those working to oppose Trump – from the California high school students who won the right to wear “Dump Trump” T-shirts to school, to the Latino workers at the Las Vegas Trump International Hotel fighting to unionize, to the Latinx anti-Trump activists raising money by selling “Make America Mexico Again” hats.
We can’t ignore Trump as long as he is a part of this election – but we can take a stand. We hope you’ll join us. – Andrea Gompf, Editor-in-Chief
"All of a sudden, Donald Trump's rhetoric meant life or death."
When Donald Trump announced his intention to run for president and spoke his now infamous words about Mexican immigrants (“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people”) back in June, those of us at the Remezcla office debated how to respond. His speech was hateful, derogatory, and categorically untrue. We didn’t take his comments lightly, but our response was meant to be funny. We published a post called “A Rebuttal to Donald Trump’s Wildly Offensive Presidential Bid Announcement” that contained very little text but whose centerpiece was a large cartoon of a middle finger. It seemed like the right reaction at time, but with almost a year’s worth of hindsight, it’s clear to me now that we had no idea how serious it would become.
Since Trump launched his campaign, his racist and inflammatory statements have only gotten worse, and ironically, more inclusive. Over the course of several months he’s continued to denigrate women, Muslims, and immigrants – and we kept writing about him. There were weeks when the majority of our traffic came from Trump-related posts.
When the news broke last August that two white guys beat a homeless man whom they thought was undocumented, we had to rethink our coverage. Boston police reported that while pummeling the Latino man with a metal pole the brothers said, “Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported.” Then they urinated on him. This foul incident proved that giving space to Donald Trump’s rhetoric was no longer about traffic or getting hits on our website, all of a sudden it meant life or death.
The billionaire’s braggadocio is far more dangerous than any public policy he could enact. Whether or not he wins the election, Trump has unleashed virulent racism that has been bubbling below the surface across the United States. It’s not that these bigots didn’t exist before, it’s just that they lived in a country where it was socially unacceptable to use slurs against people of color in public. When a rich white man seeking the highest office is plastered across TV screens using words that were previously deemed unacceptable, his mere image serves as permission for racists to move forward. As Eva Longoria eloquently said at last year’s NALIP Media Summit, “I think what he doesn’t understand and what people don’t understand is words create emotional poison. Hitler moved a nation with words, just words.”
For Latinos, this election is paramount. A Trump presidency would certainly embolden the white supremacists in our midst and could lead to an increase in hate crimes against all people of color. For this reason, we’ve chosen to stop covering Trump’s antics. Instead, we’ll provide a platform for those actively resisting his candidacy. We will highlight those people who are organizing protests and fighting back. We’ll give a voice to those who are registering Latinos to vote, and who are campaigning for other candidates. We’ll also be covering the mass demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. I’ll be there with a “Dump Trump” T-shirt on. – Vanessa Erazo, Film Editor
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