Let's be real, not a day goes by without someone throwing shade at Donald Trump. On May 26, former first daughter Chelsea Clinton sat down for an interview with The Guardian to discuss a variety of topics including female leadership, privilege, and growing up in the White House spotlight — and naturally she also had a few thoughts to share about the current president. Well, it turns out Chelsea Clinton's reason for calling out Donald Trump is something that's actually very inspiring.
In the Guardian interview, Clinton discussed the impact hateful speech has on society by using her personal experiences as examples. Growing up in the spotlight, Clinton said she would be exposed to hurtful comments both online and in person, and now she uses her platform to fight against this discourse.
So the reason, now, I no longer ignore it when people say hateful things to me on the street or on social media is, I think we have to shine a light. I think those of us who have platforms to do that have to say this is wrong and unacceptable, so we don’t normalise it but try to detoxify what has been unleashed. Because if we don’t, we leave a vacuum. And I think the darkness fills that vacuum.
Even though she doesn't mention Trump by name, it's no secret that the president is pretty well known for his bad behavior on social media, attacking his critics with name-calling, insults, or other attacks. In the interview, the former first daughter also pointed out rising reports of bullying across schools, particularly towards young girls and children of color, and cited Donald Trump's rhetoric as a huge reason for those statistics.
“I think that the way that our president and many people around him have not only mainstreamed hate, but mainlined it, is so deeply dangerous," Clinton said.
Well, I’ve been to multiple protests since the election. Charlotte’s been to at least three, maybe four. Aidan’s been to one. If I lived in Britain I would show up to protest, because I don’t agree with what he’s doing to degrade what it means to be an American.
Clearly Clinton isn't hesitant about expressing her feelings — she's taken on Trump on social media multiple times, from challenging his infamous "alt-left" comment to calling him out for blocking critics on Twitter. However, it's been proven time and time again that Trump isn't exactly shy either. Throughout his campaign and presidency, Donald Trump has sparked headlines because of his controversial remarks. From calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" to reportedly referring to Haiti and African countries as "sh*tholes" (which Trump denies saying), the list goes on and on. As the president of the United States, Trump's words have international influence, and sadly hateful speech can greatly impact people's thoughts and actions, especially on the younger generations.
In April 2016, Southern Poverty Law Center conducted a study titled "The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on our Nation’s Schools," and had middle and elementary school teachers fill out a survey about their observations concerning increased racism in school institutions since the 2016 election. In the survey, more than two-thirds of teachers reported that students who are Muslim or immigrants are worried about the future of their families since the election. In addition, more than one-third of teachers found that they've noticed an increase in anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attitudes since November 2016. As a result, teachers shared in the survey that they're "scared" to discuss the election and Trump's presidency, and find it difficult to remain neutral while discussing the subject.
"I don't think it's as possible to be entirely neutral this year," wrote one teacher. "If I were to say that Donald Trump had decent points I'd be agreeing with racist dogma. I can be neutral about Democrats and Republicans, but not about racists."
Even though bullying has always been an issue in schools, Trump's speech can't be helping the problem. That being the case, let's hope more people start taking Clinton's advice and actively speak up against hurtful words and unjust actions. After all, even the smallest act of kindness can go a long way.
Disclosure: Chelsea Clinton's husband Marc Mezvinsky joined Social Capital, an investor in Bustle Digital Group, in mid 2017 and joined the Board of Bustle Digital Group in early 2018.