I went to the White House last week and met some amazing young black conservative leaders. Majority of the youth have never been to the White House before. Never flew on a plane. Never left their city/town/state before. The President invited all of us to the White House for a reception. We were attending a seminar in town and met his son, Trump Jr. the night before. It was a really great experience to see some of the young kids face light up at being invited to one of the most prominent buildings in the world and meeting with the most powerful man in the world.
Some kids were able to borrow their parents/ grandparents clothes as they wanted to dress in the finest clothes. I heard their struggles of being a black conservative and how hard it is for them to say things like, “Making America Great Again to me is having safer communities, good jobs, affordable homes, the media has made it very tough for me to be proud that I want to make America Great Again. There’s no balance to MAGA from the media, everything about MAGA to the media is filled with hate. I get bullied in school.”
I saw a recent tweet from a well-known leader who wanted to post their picture that they had taken inside the White House on social media. The kids’ response, “oh I don’t want to be posted online. I fear that I might get shot back home”. The media portrayal of MAGA has left many of the kids afraid of wearing something that they believe in.
The leadership seminar that we attended, by Turning Point USA, was the first time for many to wear their MAGA hats with pride. It is, after all, a large and growing group. But the media fails to acknowledge them. The media fails to showcase the positivity that MAGA has made for some individuals/communities. The media’s highlight of MAGA negativity has made life for people who want to make America Great through safe communities, etc. have people including these kids fearing for their safety.
The age groups were wide and the excitement from the 11 years to 35 years old was enthralling. The group chanted USA and I would shout, “And Canada” every now and again. You couldn’t help but join in with their excitement. When President Trump addressed the room and asked us who wants to be President, even I threw up my hand and said, “me!” (yes, I know I legally can’t become president) . I loved the energy and again, the way the media had portrayed young kids, college kids, it was heartbreaking.
Due to recent activities in the U.S., the FBI was able to successfully apprehend the suspect involved in mail explosives. The President addressed the media with the latest developments first and then proceeding to address the attendees for the Young Black Leadership Summit. The President inspired the youth that they can become President one day and offered words of encouragements. After the press conference, the President chatted with the youth. I went to the back of the room where the press was stationed and the media looked awkward and stayed silent.
After the days’ event, I was back at the hotel and flipped through the TV channels. What I saw and heard at the White House and what the media had addressed left me in shock. The term, “Fake News”, you hear it all the time, but to actually experience it left me in awe. Rev. Al Sharpton referred to us as actors, that the president hosted a staged rally in a sacred room. Said that the MAGA hats were for photo ops.
First, I can’t imagine what these kids must feel. They left their homes to come to Washington, meet the most powerful man in the world, feel empowered by their personal choice, left the White House with renewed strength and hope, being with a large like-minded group, and then return back to the hotel to see the media response on the world stage.
Kids are afraid to wear their hats or talk about conservatism and major news outlets called us paid actors. Like we don’t exist. I can’t help but cry for these kids and to anyone who has been ridiculed and discriminated for believing in something and for wanting something better for themselves and their surroundings. How dare the media denounce us as fakes on an international level. The interpretation that the media has made us look, has traumatized the most innocent.
Hopes and dreams get shattered when the media portrays us in a certain way and then sells it to viewers as the way we are. The power the media holds above us. I hope no one from the group returns home and gets bullied because of media interpretation.
I wrote this piece to address the way I and my friends’ were viewed by the media and how the media chose to tell the world who we are not. It was cruel, unfair and undeserving. At this point, the media has been given the power to cause serious harm to innocent people and that is something that we as a society need to be aware of and address.