Things That Matter

After The Shooting In El Paso, Beto O’Rourke Calls On Media To Call Out Trump’s Dangerous Rhetoric

Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is arguably taking the strongest stand against Trump’s blatant racism out of any other Democratic candidate. O’Rourke is a third-generation El Pasoan, with roots deep in the El Paso community. In the wake of a mass shooting perpetrated by someone who espoused white supremacy talking point, O’Rourke is holding Trumps’ feet to the fire. 

While O’Rourke has been calling Trump a racist and a white nationalist for several years now, this week he called Trump “the most racist president since Andrew Johnson.” He not only called Trump a white supremacist but tweeted, “You cannot leave it up to me. Members of the press: You too have to call him out for being the most racist president since Andrew Johnson.”

The President of the United States took to Twitter to mock the Latino influence El Paso has had on O’Rourke.

Credit: @realdonaldtrump / Twitter

O’Rourke is pure Irish-American, but he grew up in El Paso, a border community that is majority Latino. Growing up, friends gave him the nickname “Beto,” short for Robert, and it stuck. Just three days after the deadliest attack on Latinos since the Mexican-American War, Trump decided to attack O’Rourke.

O’Rourke took to Twitter to let the president know that he believes that Trump’s racist dog-whistles led to the attack.

Credit: @BetoORourke / Twitter

O’Rourke makes no claim to be Latino, but he has represented Latinos in his career as a public servant to El Paso. The shooter idolized Trump on his social media accounts and used much of the same rhetoric in the white supremacist manifesto he posted online. Like Trump, he used words like ‘invasion,’ ‘animals,’ and ‘infestation.’

In an interview with CNN, O’Rourke called on media to “call him out for being the most racist president since Andrew Johnson.”

Credit: @BetoORourke / Twitter

After CNN asked him to comment on Trump’s condemnation of white supremacy, O’Rourke responded by saying, “This is the same man who called white nationals and klansman and Neo nazis ‘very fine people.’ This is the most racist president we’ve had since perhaps Andrew Johnson, in another age, in another century. He is responsible for the hatred and the violence that we see right now. You cannot leave that just to me to say that. It’s gotta be you.”

O’Rourke is so frustrated with reporters skirting around bigger questions that he actually responded with “I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f*ck?”

Credit: @MSNBC / Twitter

On Sunday, a reporter asked O’Rourke if there’s anything President Trump could do to “make this any better” and O’Rourke lost it, and reasonably so. 

“What do you think? You know the sh*t he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f*ck? Hold on a second. You know, I — it’s these questions that you know the answers to,” he put bluntly.

“I mean, connect the dots about what he’s doing in this country,” O’Rourke continued. 

Credit: @Indi_Tx27_4Beto / Twitter

“He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country,” he fumed. “So, you know, I just — I don’t know what kind of question that is.”

This political moment is offering folks a sense of relief and hope.

Credit: @JoyAnnReid / Twitter

Relief that someone is holding Trump to task. Hope that someone will do more than simply respond to his racism diplomatically.

O’Rourke is in El Paso offering his personal cell phone number to survivors of the shooting.

In a touching moment, we see O’Rourke asking survivor Sean Nixon, 20, if he’s been able to get some professional counseling or a therapist. “Talk to me,” O’Rourke tells a grief-stricken Nixon.

“It’s too much. El Paso was great. I don’t know why this dude was doing this to us,” Nixon cries out while weeping. 

O’Rourke gave him his personal cell phone number and a promise to connect him with therapists, and anything else he might need.

Credit: @ericbradner / Twitter

O’Rourke gives him a long hug and tells him, “I’m with you. I’m with you. This is my cell phone. It goes directly to me. There have been a number of people who have reached out to me–counselors, therapists who want to be helpful. If that additional help would be good for you, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.”

READ: Here’s How One 11-Year-Old El Paso Resident Is Trying to Bring Some Positive Light After A Horrible Mass Shooting

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Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

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Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

Photo via Getty Images

Students at a high school in Aledo, Texas are being disciplined after the administration discovered they held a mock slave auction on Snapchat where they “traded” Black students.

Screenshots of the Snapchat group show that these unnamed students “bid” on students of color, ranging anywhere from $1 to $100.

One student in particular was priced at $1 because his hair was “bad”. The screenshot also shows that the group chat’s name changed regularly. The group’s name started as “Slave Trade” then changed to “N—-r Farm”, and finally to “N—– Auction”.

Upon learning of the mock slave auction, the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus’s principal wrote a note to parents explaining the situation. Principal Carolyn Ansley called the mock slave auction “an incident of cyberbullying and harassment” which “led to conversations about how inappropriate and hurtful language can have a profound and lasting impact” on people.

Many people felt that the school principal downplayed the gravity of the mock slave auction. Not once did she mention the word racism in the letter that she sent out to parents.

“Calling it cyberbullying rather than calling it racism… that is the piece that really gets under my skin,” said Mark Grubbs, father to three former Aledo ISD students, to NBC DFW. But Grubbs, along with many other Aledo parents and community members, say that the incident didn’t surprise them.

In fact, Grubbs said he had to take his children out of the Aledo ISD school system because of how much racist harassment his children were facing. “A lot of racism,” he said of his son’s experience at the school. “My son being called out of his name and what not and it got to the point he didn’t mind fighting and that didn’t sit right with me and my wife. My son was never a fighter.”

After the backlash to the initial statement, Superintendent Susan Bohn finally released a statement condemning the racism and “hatred” of the mock slave auction.

“There is no room for racism or hatred in the Aledo ISD, period,’ Bohn wrote. “Using inappropriate, offensive and racially charged language and conduct is completely unacceptable and is prohibited by district policy.”

The problem with “policies” like these is they fail to target the issue of racism at the root. Hate speech may be “prohibited”, but if a child is displaying racist behavior for whatever reason, the bigger problem is the way that they have been educated and indoctrinated. Slave auctions have no place in 2021.

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Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

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Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

Photo via Getty Images

The GOP’S voter-suppression tactics in Georgia have been gripping the nation. But now, the media is also turning its attention to other voter-suppression tactics in the rest of the country. Now, Texas Republicans are taking the heat.

According to Common Cause Texas, Texas Republicans are planning on recruiting thousands of volunteers create an “election integrity brigade”. They want the “brigade” to go into Black and brown neighborhoods in Houston and “fight voter fraud”.

A Texas GOP presentation was leaked that outlined plans to send an “army” of poll-watchers to Black and brown precincts.

“I’m trying to encourage and recruit, as a precinct chair, about 30 people in my precinct who will have the confidence and courage to come down in here…,” said an unnamed GOP official, pointing to majority non-white urban areas, “…in these areas where we really need poll-workers. Because this is where the problem is occuring.”

“So me finding poll-watchers out here, it helps, but it’s a pretty safe precinct”. He said this while pointing to majority-white Houston neighborhoods.

The video inspired outrage among people who saw these tactics as blatant attempts to suppress the voting rights of POC.

“The impetus for releasing [the video] right now is there are some bills in the legislature that seek to empower poll watchers in some really scary ways,” said executive director of Common Cause Texas, Anthony Gutierrez, to NBC News. “And also at the same time, take away the power of the presiding judge at the poll site from being able to remove a disruptive poll watcher.”

“It’s very clear that we’re talking about recruiting people from the predominantly Anglo parts of town to go to Black and Brown neighborhoods,” said Gutierrez to The Washington Post.

“This is a role that’s supposed to do nothing but stand at a poll site and observe,” he added. Why is he suggesting someone needs to be ‘courageous’?”

This “election integrity brigade” comes on the heels of a problematic election bill the Texas Senate just passed.

According to NBC News, the bill “bans overnight early voting and drive-thru early voting” and also “empowers partisan poll watchers.”

“It’s part of the intimidation, the confusion, the antics that (the Republican Party) has engaged in for so many generations that culminated in President Trump asking people to overturn the election,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to CNN.

“What they’re doing is filing bills that are essentially a poll tax that weaponize the election system against our own voters,” she continued. “And what they’re proposing is absolutely tragic and reminiscent of the worst of what we’ve seen in Texas and across the South since Reconstruction.”

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