Only twice in my life have I been told to go back to my own country.
For a Latino of my generation, that is extraordinarily low, but I guess I live a charmed life (hey, don’t we all, blessed as we are to live in Trump’s America).
In one case, the implication was that I should pack up and head out to some nameless Latin American nation. In the other, I was told, specifically, to “go back to Japan.”
Considering that I was born in Wisconsin (and I’m not even slightly Japanese), both of these demands were misguided.
And oh yes, they were also racist as fuck.
Just about every ethnic minority and/or immigrant will tell you that it is a bigoted, hateful attack to tell someone to get out of America and, to use the president’s phrasing, “go back [to] the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Fortunately, our guardians of racial sensitivity — white, male Republicans — are here to tell you that there is nothing racist about this verbal bromide. And they should know, because they’ve been told many times to go back to Europe or the Caucasus Mountains, or something… OK, no. That shit never happens.
Because telling someone to go back to his own country is an insult aimed exclusively at ethnic minorities. It simply doesn’t work if hurled at a white person.
And with this latest tweet-storm, “not only is Trump rekindling a nasty historical talking point about immigrants, he’s apparently otherizing brown-skinned members of Congress by implying they are foreigners who … may not love this country.”
And yet, we have the president’s defenders insisting that his tweets weren’t xenophobic, or that he meant the members of the Squad should visit their home districts more often, or that liberals are the real racists, or that those pesky ladies are communists (really, is it 1982 again?).
Mostly, the GOP has remained silent, as they will even when Trump has moved on and left their party a disheveled heap of shell-shocked quislings.
The real problem, as is so often the case, is not Trump. We all know that he is a bigot. Hell, even some of his biggest fans admit that he is a white nationalist.
No, the core issue is that even after witnessing the most transparently racist action by a sitting president in recent history, more than 40 percent of Americans support the current occupant of the White House. The man’s approval rating actually went up among Republicans, and some political experts are saying it is a good re-election strategy to attack ethnic minority women.
The vexation here is that unless Trump goes on national television and shouts the N-word repeatedly, there are millions of Americans who will deny the obvious truth. They will do this to defend their past decisions, to justify their current actions, and to avoid facing unpleasant realities.
They will do this, presumably, until the day they die.
And nothing will ever change their minds.
Featured image: Marvin Moose/Flickr