Why Remezcla Will No Longer Be Covering Donald Trump

Lead Photo: Armando Garcia protests outside the Trump hotel in Washington, DC, July 9, 2015. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster)
Armando Garcia protests outside the Trump hotel in Washington, DC, July 9, 2015. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster)
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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

Below, read more thoughts from our editorial team on why we have decided to take this stance. 

"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

"Hatemongering has real world consequences."

As we violently spiral towards a reality where Donald Trump is the leader of the free world, I look back on the apathy I’ve felt this election year. For a time, I found no recourse but to shrug off the belligerent and nonsensical ramblings of the businessman turned politician. But after some time, like so many others, I realized that this behavior wasn’t funny anymore. Not when you employ a rhetorical arsenal of difference, when your campaign others people of color, and when you threaten the safety and livelihood of 11 million undocumented people in this nation.

No, that kind of hatemongering has real world consequences. Some continue to believe Trump’s campaign is predicated on posturing, on demagoguery he will abandon once he takes office. Some laud Trump for his campaign’s ability to bring immigration to the forefront of the political conversation, for the way it exposes racists who concealed their bigotry out of fear or social obligation, and for the way it reinforces our democracy.

But I won’t thank Trump for anything. I won’t throw the activists who have tirelessly battled racism and police violence and immigration raids under the bus. I won’t neglect the power of music and its utility for protest, whether it be through traditional corridos, West Coast g-funk, or music video animation. I won’t do that, because I know how profoundly music has shaped my political views, my journey to self-knowledge, and my commitment to social justice. In uplifting these resistance efforts, especially in the world of music, I hope that it will do the same for others. As the poet and activist Audre Lorde once said, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Isabelia Herrera, Music Editor

"We should be supporting our fellow students and young people experiencing racism because of the harmful rhetoric in the campaign."

We’ve seen this viral video before. Donald Trump’s now familiar incendiary remarks about immigrants voiced over images of triumphant Latin American soccer players in a commercial for the Copa America. It was funny. We laughed. We shared it.

But what wasn’t funny was the scene at a high school soccer match in Wisconsin last month when a team of varsity girls – mostly African Americans and Latinas from Beloit Memorial – won an away game at Elkhorn High School. The victorious players weren’t laughing as the Elkhorn students hurled racial slurs and chants at them, yelling “Donald Trump, build that wall.” Some girls were so distraught they had to leave the game. “Those words are things you can’t take back,” said Beloit coach Brian Denu.

And that wasn’t even the first time.

Flashback to March when students from Andrean High School, a Catholic school in Merrillville, Indiana, waved a picture of Donald Trump and chanted “build a wall” at a basketball game. The rival team from Bishop Noll High School was made up of mostly Latino players.

That is a video that should go viral.

Here at Remezcla we pride ourselves on being a voice for young Latino millennials. We have readers from diverse backgrounds, countries, and traditions who have all come to the the United States at different times in this nation’s history. Some of us have been here since before the United States existed. (Shout out to the Southwest!)

For the first time in an election year we millennials will account for nearly half of the record 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters, which according to the Pew Research Center is a share greater than any other racial or ethnic group.

But at the same time Latino millennials are less likely to cast a ballot than older voters and even worse, our voter turnout rate trails that of other millennial groups like whites, blacks and Asians.

By sharing the Copa America commercial and not the video from Andrean High School we are supporting Torneos y Competencias – an Argentine sports marketing firm accused by the US government of bribing soccer officials in the FIFA corruption investigation – instead of supporting ourselves. We should be supporting our fellow students and young people experiencing racism because of the harmful rhetoric in this campaign.

We need to organize, get out the vote, in order to make change in a serious way and stop hate.Raul Vilchis, Sports Editor

"The best way I can contribute is by finding people who are out there doing their best to stop Trump."

The very first story I wrote for Remezcla was about NBC refusing to air the Miss Universe pageant. Instead of fizzling out because of his inflammatory comments about undocumented immigrants, women, and Muslims, Trump became more powerful because the media – us included – gave him exactly what he wanted. Though he deserves to be called out for being a Grade A comemierda, every Trump story I wrote was the same: He said something hateful/misinformed/stupid, and we’re upset. But it doesn’t bring attention to the real issues, and complaining about him isn’t going to lead to his downfall. The best way I can contribute is by finding people who are out there doing their best to stop him, because those are the kind of people who deserve shine. Yara Simón, Trending Editor