Yesterday the Herald-Leader's Daniel Desrochers and Courier-Journal's Phillip Bailey tagged team Bevin about these tweets. His response managed to be worse than expected.
- The stalling to figure out how he's going to respond.
- The refusal to answer.
- The obsequious defense of Trump that seeks to make it clear he's in tight with Trump.
- The angry attacks at the media for asking him legitimate questions.
- Saying "shame on you" to people asking about divisive comments and then calling the questioner divisive.
- The sacrifice of his family at the altar of Trump by refusing to answer the question about having those phrases directed at his family.
- His final puzzling deflection, "Do any of you have any questions about something germane to Kentucky?"
I'm old enough to remember a few years back when Governor-Elect Bevin lashed out at the Lexington Herald-Leader for an editorial cartoon about his own xenophobic rhetoric that depicted him cowering in fear over his own immigrant children. Interestingly, he made this statement.
Let me be crystal clear, the tone of racial intolerance being struck by the Herald-Leader has no place in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and will not be tolerated by our administration.
Governor Matt Bevin has called JCPS "an unmitigated disaster". His appointed head of the Kentucky Board of Education, Hal Heiner and Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis often discuss achievement gaps that impact minorities.
As pointed out in an excellent article by Mandy McLaren of the Courier Journal, JCPS has a large population of immigrants. They come here for a variety of reasons, but most are seeking a safer and better life. Lack of resources, language, and cultural barriers make it difficult for these students, and as a result, these students are a part of that achievement gap. Imagine what it's like when the leader of a country where you seek to make a better life looks upon people who look like you as a threat and says they should go back to where they came from. Or he refers to the country where you came from as a "sh**hole".
What message does it send to these kids when their Governor responds to a question about a man who continually says and does racist and xenophobic things by saying "do I think the President is racist? Absolutely not!"?
These children already have the worries and fears inherent in being different in a new place where they know few people. Add to that the continual threats of family separation, the xenophobic messages on Fox News and in Trump's campaign rallies, and the refusal of a large chunk of our elected population to condemn racism and xenophobia in any meaningful way, and you create even more fear, and psychological distress in these children that makes it harder to learn, trust, and get ahead. Racism and the stress caused by it is a clear threat to learning.
If Wayne Lewis and the Board of Education truly are concerned about achievement gaps for minority and low income students, they MUST forcefully condemn the remarks of the president and address their own boss's refusal to do so. Otherwise, it's clear that they're simply using these kids in the gaps as pawns to push an educational agenda, not out of any true concern for their well being or educational achievement.