View Full Version : ‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How a President’s Name Became a Racial Jeer

12-16-2017, 05:09 PM
For more coverage of race, sign up here (http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2016/race-related/) to have our Race/Related newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.The high school basketball squad from Eagle Grove, population 3,700, had traveled 60 miles up Highway 69 in Iowa to play the team from Forest City, population 4,100. It would be the Eagles against the Indians, a hardwood competition in the center of the country. For some people, this is as American as it gets.At one point during the online streaming of the game last month, two white announcers for a Forest City radio station, KIOW, began riffing (http://globegazette.com/news/local/forest-city-radio-station-school-district-issue-apology-letters-to/article_3b1cd14a-c578-5c62-adb1-11904ae17a26.html) on the Hispanic names of some players from the mildly more diverse community of Eagle Grove. “They’re all foreigners,” said Orin Harris, a longtime announcer; his partner, Holly Jane Kusserow-Smidt, a board operator at the station who was also a third-grade teacher, answered: “Exactly.”


Still, it persists. Across the country, students have used the president’s name to mock or goad minority opponents at sporting events. In March, white fans at suburban Canton High School in Connecticut shouted “Trump! Trump! Trump! (http://www.courant.com/community/canton/hc-canton-basketball-game-trump-chant-0302-20170301-story.html)” as players from Hartford’s Classical Magnet School, which is predominantly black and Latino, took foul shots during a basketball playoff game. They also chanted “He’s our president!”The visiting players and their chaperones interpreted the chants not as a sudden burst of presidential fealty, but rather as a slyly racist mantra intended to rattle. As if Donald J. Trump was the president of here, in white suburbia, and not there, in the diverse inner city.

“When Trump says, ‘I hear you, I will represent you,’ he is speaking to a particular cross-section of the nation that does not include Muslims, that does not include people of color,” Ms. Wright Rigueur said.