A Peabody Award-winning anchor for the Spanish-language Univision network was booed and called "trash" at a commencement address in Orange County, California, this weekend after she spoke a few words in Spanish and mentioned Donald Trump.
María Elena Salinas spoke at California State University, Fullerton, on Sunday, first addressing the entire CSUF graduating class and later speaking to graduates of the school's College of Communications, an audience consisting largely of journalism, advertising and public relations students.
About 37 percent of students at CSUF are Hispanic, according to the university. Salinas, a California native who was raised by immigrants, addressed the Latinos in the audience at one point during her remarks at the College of Communications ceremony, speaking in Spanish to them and their parents.
In Spanish, Salinas told the students how proud she was of their generation. Non-Latino grads started shouting "What about us?" according to Denise De La Cruz, a graduate who was at the ceremony.
"Tensions worsened as Salinas began offering advice to journalism students to use the tools of media to rebut political figures such as Donald Trump," De La Cruz wrote in a first-person account for OC Weekly. "That's when folks began yelling things to Salinas such as, 'Get off the stage!' and 'Trash!'"
The Washington Post reports:
In a video, a varied response can be heard from the crowd.
Salinas said: “...they blame us so much for so many things, that now they’re even blaming us, the media, for creating Donald Trump. Imagine that.” Yells can be heard from the crowd. “Isn’t that terrible? But we didn’t, right? Who did it?” she asked rhetorically. “I don’t know. Who did it? But they’re to blame.”
Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has built his campaign on fear-mongering about Mexican and Muslim immigrants. His signature policy issue is a proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and have Mexico pay for it, which the country says it would not do. Trump has put bigotry and intolerance front and center in his campaign, and his supporters have frequently engaged in violence against protesters at his rallies.
Commencement speakers from across the political spectrum have included anti-Trump remarks in their speeches this spring.
In this video posted by The Washington Post, boos and shouts can be heard as Salinas mentions that people blame the media for the rise of Trump.
Salinas later said on Twitter that she didn't hear what people were yelling. But, she said, "if they complained about me speaking Spanish it's sad racism is on the rise."
One student insisted on Twitter that the boos weren't because of racism, saying that some people in the audience booed because they felt Salinas' remarks were too focused on Latino students and exclusive of others.
"It’s really sad that people can turn such a special moment into a racial war,” Salinas told The Washington Post. "Because it seems like that is what has happened. I don’t think I insulted anyone by saying a few words in Spanish to the parents. The whole speech was directed to everyone."
"I think the message is, we have to cool down the intolerance right now," she went on. "We really do. This is ugly, what’s happening in the country."
It's worth noting that Salinas' speech focused mainly on the CSUF students, not on Trump. And some graduates genuinely appreciated her remarks, judging by Twitter.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist
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Actor Hank Azaria doled out some words of wisdom to graduates of Tufts University on Sunday in the style of the characters he voices on "The Simpsons."
For example, Comic Book Guy had some advice: "Life is like the 'Star Wars' movies: some of it is great, some of it sucks, but you have no choice but to sit through all of it."
Azaria, who was an undergrad at Tufts' Medford, Massachusetts campus in the 1980's, took a swipe against Boston University in the voice of Moe, the bartender: "I didn't have the benefit of a fancy highfalutin education -- I went to BU. At least Tufts has a campus. I majored in not getting hit by cars on Commonwealth Avenue."
But Azaria also shared some guidance in his normal voice during the speech.
"When I was your guys' age, I believed that who I was and how I thought and how I felt was inherently uninteresting and flawed and not practical, or maybe they were, and maybe they still are, but it wasn't until I embraced the person that I really was that my work as an actor got really interesting," Azaria said.
"I'm not suggesting that you ignore ... the rules of society, or the laws of common sense, for the actual law, or the text books and manuals, your teachers, your advisors, or the Internet and all the other sources that are happy to tell you the right and wrong way to go about doing almost everything," he continued. "Just please be honest with yourself about what you think and how you feel about all of that; what you like and dislike, what angers, what you are scared of, you are saddened by, or inspires you or delights you. Those feelings are called your instincts, and you ignore them at your own peril."
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Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court justice known for rarely speaking from the bench, spoke for half an hour Saturday at the Hillsdale College commencement exercises.
Hillsdale is a conservative liberal arts college in Hillsdale, Michigan. It does not take any federal funding, meaning no student can use government loans to attend the school. In its mission statement, Hillsdale describes itself as "a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture."
Thomas, a conservative jurist, took a few minutes to bemoan what he sees as the culture of entitlement on many college campuses.
He recalled that his grandfather often told him "money didn't grow on trees."
"Perhaps," Thomas said, "we think liberty grows on trees."
"Apparently, we all deserve the same reward, the same status, notwithstanding the differences in our efforts or our abilities," Thomas said. "It is no wonder then that we hear so often what is deserved or to what one is entitled. I guess by this reasoning, the student who took full advantage of all the spring break bacchanalia is apparently entitled to the same success as the conscientious, disciplined classmate who worked and studied while he played. Perhaps we should redistribute the conscientious student's grades to make the frolicking classmate his or her equal. I'm sure the top 10 students would love that."
Thomas said he wanted to avoid what he saw as "standard fare" for commencement speeches -- that is, remarks about what is wrong in the world and how graduates can go and fix things. It was perhaps a fitting approach at Hillsdale, whose website reads, "The College values the merit of each unique individual, rather than succumbing to the dehumanizing, discriminatory trend of so called 'social justice' and 'multicultural diversity,' which judges individuals not as individuals, but as members of a group and which pits one group against other competing groups in divisive power struggles."
"Having been where you all are, I think it is hard enough to first solve your own problems, not to mention those problems that often seem to defy solution," Thomas told the graduating class on Saturday.
He did, though, urge graduates to go forth and try to be the best citizens they can be, and to encourage others to do the same.
"The corporal works of mercy, the greatest commandment, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself': Just because someone else wronged us did not justify reciprocal conduct on our part," Thomas said. "Right was right, and two wrongs did not make a right."
He added a moment later, "As you go through life, try to be that person whose actions teach others how to be better people and better citizens. Reach out to that shy person who's not so popular. Stand up for others when they're being treated unfairly on small things and large. Take the time to listen to that friend who's having a difficult time. Do not hide your faith and your beliefs under a bushel basket, especially in this world that seems to have gone mad with political correctness."
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Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) called on the Class of 2016 to go beyond tolerance, and strive for a "nation of love," in his address at George Washington University's graduation ceremony on Sunday.
"I'm tired of this call in our country for this idea of tolerance — that is not the aspiration," Booker said. "We have a nation right now that seems to think the greatest and highest achievement is for us to be a tolerant nation, but I say no. We're not called to be a tolerant nation. We're called to be a nation of love. What we need to do is understand that we have to love each other, that we have to see each other have worth and dignity and value."
"We are Americans one to another, but we lose thousands of our children each year because of indifference, because of apathy, because we are just tolerating one another," Booker said at another point.
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"Don't give in to cynicism," Booker said. "It is a toxic spiritual state. You've got to be one that, wherever you are, like a flower you've got to blossom where you're planted. You cannot eliminate darkness. You cannot banish it by cursing darkness. The only way to get rid of darkness is light and to be the light yourself."
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