Reactions of Incarcerated Youth to Trump’s Election

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I felt like the world was going to end. He disrespected my religion for one, so I don’t like him or what he believes in. But I got to work with him so it is what it is.

In Juvie, the staff were trying to be funny about Trump, which really set everybody off.  People were kicking doors constantly, trays flying, threats, subgroups and fear was something I haven’t seen in a minute.  All people could remember was Trump talking about this wall. The fact jails and prisons are primarily minorities, Trump gets NO LOVE on this side.

—Moola, Alameda

I know firsthand the evil that lives within individuals and I’ve chosen never to let myself be caught unprepared. In the streets, where you can encounter someone who lives for the sole purpose of ruining other people’s lives, that means totin’ a gun and being alert.

In the working world, it means not being complacent, keeping yourself marketable and having the same, if not higher, level of alertness. It’s unfortunate that we have to live this way, but people who thrive on inflicting pain exist in every sector of our society.

That such people exist in this world makes me mad. But I’m also mad because of all the privileged people who shut their eyes while others are victimized because it doesn’t benefit them to get involved. I’m mad that everybody is a tough guy until a tough situation is presented; then they crumble, blaming the world and everything in it.

And I hate that young brothas, Latinos and poor white folks get body slammed for everyone to see on national TV shows like “Cops” while the real high-stakes criminals become CEOs or get elected to public office.    

I’m mad that we live in one of the most racist countries in the world, yet racism can’t be confronted because it’s not patriotic. And it drives me crazy how the wealthy get away with everything, including murder, while those of us who can’t afford a team of high-priced lawyers have our lives scarred for smoking weed.

This is supposed to be the country where people have the most freedoms, but you’re not free to do nothin’ unless you pay for it. You might disagree with what’s wrong, but you can’t point out the obvious and be angry about our problems without being labeled a lunatic.

In the end, we blame individuals instead of systems, the corrupted instead of the institutions that corrupt, while our anger smolders until it erupts into flames and we start shootin’ everybody in sight.

Then, all of a sudden, people claim to care, but it’s only because they’re scared.

Until the ratings drop, this insanity won’t stop.    

—Db, Alameda

When I heard that Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, I was shocked and disgusted. I don’t see how America voted for such a horrible person like Trump. For example, he is disrespectful and loathing towards women and wants to build a wall on the USA-Mexico border to keep out illegal Mexicans and Mexicans who can go into the USA legally.

I don’t know what is going to happen to America when Trump takes office. I hope he doesn’t start WWIII. Even though voting this year turned disastrous and not what sane people wanted, I think America’s voting future will turn for the better.

I will vote for our next president, in four years time. Will you?

—Sallybo, Alameda

I’m worried Trump will try to deport everyone he doesn’t like a hundred percent. I’m surprised they let a sexist be president; mind you, he raped a lady and he was talking about it. He was saying, “Oh, that’s just locker room talk,” mind you, he meant every word he said when he was talking about it.

It didn’t surprise me that much that he is president because he’s a dumb rich person. He doesn’t know what to do with his presidency. He might hire someone to do his president job for him like he does with everything else. Like his speeches, his decisions, his ideas and his cleaning. Everything, mainly.

—Marcel, San Francisco

The morning after Trump got elected I got a text from my mom saying, ‘Good morning, we’ve entered a new dark age.’ Little did she know I was relieved Hillary didn’t win. Throughout the election I frequently was found voicing my opinions in favor of Bernie Sanders. I realized once it came to the Democratic Convention that there was no way he had a chance and I would just support Hillary.

That changed when Wikileaks revealed the emails from DNC leaders and how they were screwing over Bernie, giving him an unfair chance at being on the ballot. This showed me how shady and crooked the Clinton campaign was so I threw my support over to Trump.

In doing this I was very silent about my support for Trump. I was silent in doing this for fear of what my peers would say. Even now that he is the president-elect I still don’t talk about my support for him.

I am not a racist, not a homophobe, not transphobic, Islamophobic or any other thing Trump supporters are called. I just want a president who isn’t necessarily politically correct and most importantly one that will shake up the establishment (Bernie Sanders originally).

—My Thoughts, Marin  

The staff in Juvenile Hall tell us that we don’t want to be in here when Donald Trump’s elected, because he’s gonna make it worse and the halls bigger.

Cyrus, Alameda

Two steps forward, one step back

That’s how the saying goes

America has turned things upside down

By electing someone like Trump

Especially after electing Obama

We had finally taken a step forward

One that was long overdue:

Our first black president

Now we have Trump

Another white male




Now we have turned the saying upside down:

One step forward, two steps back

—Lucci, Alameda

We should stand up and fight for our rights and beliefs. But if you don’t do it the right way your point will never get across. Running the streets screaming and shouting, disrupting other people’s everyday lives does not make any changes to your issues. And revolting against the people doesn’t make it better either.

If you have an issue with how something is going on in your life, get educated about it, gather a group of people that share your same opinion and share the facts about that issue with possible compromises, improvements and changes in a socially acceptable way. Violence will only bring on more violence and if we don’t inform ourselves and others, mistakes are bound to happen.

—Dakota, Portland Oregon

I was happy Trump won. What went through my head is how good it would be for the economy and it will be a chance to build America to a respectable nation.

Myself and schoolteachers have common views on Trump as our president because he is a good businessman and reflects great leadership skills.

I personally like that Donald Trump won due to people in society starting to pay more attention to what’s going on in our country. The more people care and begin to get involved such as this election represents great progress for our future.

—Nate, Portland Oregon

I had a dream the night of the election. It was that I was Donald Trump’s assistant and instead of being the racist bigot I consider him to be, he was actually a fun-loving, Hispanic-hugging, non-piece-of-feces. I think it was just my brain trying to massage my inner turmoil and provide the last night that I wouldn’t be under Trump’s white thumbs.

Mostly my worries stem from, or rather for, my family. The fistful of relatives I have in the US (with the exception of my brother) are undocumented. It worries me. We’re not Mexican, but we look Mexican enough to be in Trump’s first wave of his idea of “making America great again.”

—Dilcia, Los Angeles

The two people that ran for president this year

Had me thinking either way the country’s path was unclear

We had Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

I was torn up inside because they both be tripping

Either way I thought we were still losing

We had two messed up options, what was the point of choosing?

One believed in eight-month abortions, one wants to build a wall

I thought, either way, the country might take a big fall

I was sure racism was in the air that they were breathing

Taking a bunch of pictures with blacks saying they not, so we can believe ‘em

Donald Trump had a charge on him and that charge was rape

But this the guy that’s about to live behind the White House gates

Hillary Clinton got government official information on her private email

If you hack into you can get our country’s information in detail

But these the people running for president this year

Got me scared thinking now my future is unclear

I know I need an education, I gotta be smart

Because this year they gonna keep the dumb in the dark

I gotta help my own community ‘cause Donald don’t care

He barely cares for hisself, man, look at his hair

He got a smile that tells you, “You know I don’t care”

People gotta look out for the people and not stand clear

—Celese, Los Angeles

I think the US will go to war with a lot of different countries. There will be more nuclear weapons and radiation. The economy is going to sink and we will all be close to death. I say it is going to change for the worse, but I could be wrong.

—Dominiq, San Bernardino  

Holy shh, he actually did it! I didn’t think he could actually do it, but now Donald Trump is going to be the new president. Maybe some of my stories might come true.

In all honesty, maybe not too much will change. We might have a wall, but the rest of it is all talk. We’ll still be the same USA.

—Catman, Santa Clara

I was kind of shocked when Donald Trump won the election. I do think that Donald Trump is going to be a good president for the United States. I think he’s going to put a lot of finances into the U.S. I think he’s going to help the people in need.

I believe Mr. Trump is going to focus more on the low- and middle-class people. I personally believe he’s going to shock the world.

—Jamonte, San Bernardino

The Beat Within, a publication of writing and art from incarcerated youth, was founded by David Inocencio in San Francisco in 1996. Weekly writing and conversation workshops are held in California, six other states and Washington, D.C. Submissions and new partners are welcomed. Write to him at

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