Teaching Trump

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As I write this, Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. He’s also a lightning rod for all kind of criticism across multiple fronts.  One thing is for sure: people are talking about Donald Trump, good and bad. Of all of his polarizing remarks, Trump’s statements about immigration seem to have provoked the strongest reactions. I thought I would offer some insights on how to teach Trump, with a focus on immigration.

By Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Julia Alvarez, “Selections from Once Upon a Quinceañera.” Alvarez’s essay is a useful antidote to some of the notions about immigrants circulating out in the ether.  Her portrayal of the economic challenges of the quince offers a particular understanding of immigrants in relation to work and economics.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Making Conversation and The Primacy of Practice.” Central to Appiah’s notion of cosmopolitanism is the idea that in a very crowded world we will need to find a way to get along.  Appiah reframes some of the challenges around immigration and, in particular, suggests that isolationist maneuvers (wall building, literally and figuratively) really are no longer realistic given how interconnected the world is today.

Manuel Muñoz, “Leave Your Name at the Border.”  Muñoz is a great shorter piece for considering the forces of assimilation that face immigrants.  He helps students think about the costs and benefits of fitting in as an immigrant.

Jennifer Pozner, “Ghetto Bitches, China Dolls, and Cha Cha Divas.”  Given Trump’s experience with reality TV, I think Pozner would be a particularly interesting choice since her work examines the intersection of reality TV and ethnic/racial stereotypes.

Thomas Friedman, “The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention.” Friedman’s essay is useful for thinking about global economic connections, which explains (for example) why the line of suits with Trump’s name on them is manufactured in Mexico. Friedman’s central point is that global economics and global politics are centrally linked; Trump is an interesting test case for further examining Friedman’s ideas.

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About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.