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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Charlestown Senator Elaine Morgan goes on a censorship jihad

Fact-challenged legislator protests video on Trump and race shown to a Chariho class
By Will Collette

To watch this video on YouTube: You can also use the link below to watch it on Vimeo.

It seems that state Senator Elaine Morgan, a Republican whose district includes the northern half of Charlestown, never misses a chance to jump on a controversy and then show how little she actually knows.

A two-minute video produced by Atlantic Magazine was shown to a Chariho 8th grade class in the context of studying the neo-Nazi march and violence in Charlottesville, VA last August. 

You can watch the Vimeo version of the video '‘It’s Impossible to Imagine Trump Without the Force of Whiteness’ shown to students for yourself

The video is an extract derived from Ta-Nehisi Coates in Atlantic Magazine (CLICK HERE for the article). Coates is an author, journalist and educator with the credentials to have an informed opinion on race and politics.

Morgan made the following claims in a letter to the Chariho School Committee:
“It has come to my attention that [a teacher] as part of preparing her students to study the Holocaust, has the students studying prejudice. In addition to wondering what studying the Holocaust has to do with the study of English, I was incensed to learn that she showed the students a video called ‘Trump and the Power of Whiteness.’ If the title alone of the video is not appalling enough, the subject matter is even more so.”

Morgan gave a statement to the Westerly Sun explaining why she was so upset:
“This is a vile video that was shown to 8th grade students… This video gives these children the impression that if their parents voted for Trump in the elections that they were white supremacist and racist. Children are also being bullied by their peers if they are Republican or hold Republican values. In this video the word Niger [sic] is used and is not acceptable. This does not unite people it only causes a bigger divide.”
That’s a lot to unpack. First, Morgan gets the title of the video wrong. Second, the video was not shown to a class studying the Holocaust, but rather a class where the video seemed to be part of the context. 

While there is a certain similarity between the Holocaust and today's American neo-Nazis, Morgan once again demonstrates she just doesn't know the facts. Or doesn't care.

Morgan’s claim that “Children are also being bullied by their peers if they are Republican or hold Republican values” is floated out there in her statement to the Sun without foundation or evidence.

Yes, Ta-Nehisi Coates who is himself African-American, does use the word “nigger” in the video, but before you judge its appropriateness, look at it in context. And note that Morgan does not know how to spell it, leading the Sun to brand it [SIC]. By the way, "Niger" (capitalized) is the name of an actual west African country, but of course, Senator Morgan wouldn't know that.

Incidentally, while many believe “SIC” means “spelling incorrect” or “sense incorrect,” it actually is drawn from the Latin “sic erat scriptum” meaning "thus was it written." Editors add SIC when a word or passage is wrong and they want to make it clear the author was responsible and not an editorial mistake.

I get it that Morgan is pretty sensitive about any criticism, direct or implied, against Donald Trump.
Morgan has shown that she shares Trump’s attitudes toward immigrants and Islam with her proposal for concentration camps for refugees, as well as an antipathy toward low-income families with her endless legislation to “poor shame” people receiving public benefits.

But it was Donald Trump, not Ta-Nehisi Coates, that made race the central theme of the 2016 election from the day he rode the golden escalator down from his Trump Tower office to announce his candidacy as the only way to stem the tide of the immigrant hordes.

In two minutes, Coates makes the argument that this factor, above all other reasons, drove enough white voters to Trump to give him the win in the Electoral College, if not with the majority of voters.

For the most part, the Chariho management and the Chariho School Committee blew off Morgan’s criticism. Superintendent Barry Ricci cited the errors of fact. He also noted that neither he nor the school principal had received any complaints.

Several school committee members questioned by parents would go to a state Senator rather than use the established channels for handling such issues.

But then Elaine Morgan would not have had the opportunity to show everyone again what she’s all about.