Trump went on a racist tirade that inspired a flood of stories that will break your heart
Days after President Donald Trump said in a series of tweets that four American congresswomen of color should “go back” to their own countries, other people of color are sharing stories of similar racist sentiments they’ve encountered.
In his tweets, Trump targeted Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar, saying, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” For the record, Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Tlaib in Detroit, and Ocasio-Cortez in New York, while Omar came to the U.S. from Somalia as a very young child and became a U.S. citizen when she was just 17.
Trump has denied that the tweets were racist, even though they single out non-white women and ignore the fact that the one of these women who was not born in the U.S. became a citizen before his own wife did — Melania Trump gained her citizenship in 2006 when she was 36 years old. Melania is also white, which illustrates the difference here and what Trump is trying to say: Being born in American or gaining American citizenship isn’t what makes you belong here — being white does.
“Go back to your country” is a taunt immigrant kids hear on the playground, it’s a threat I get from unhinged people in my DMs, and it’s also something the President of the United States says to strong women of color who oppose him.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) July 15, 2019
To further illustrate that, people of color have been flooding social media with stories of times they were told to “go back” where they came from, even though many of them come from families that have lived in the U.S. for generations upon generations.
Growing up in Northern Virginia, I used to get the occasional "go back to China" while playing sports. (I was actually born in Germany, on an American military base b/c my Japanese-American dad spent 20+ years in Army after being jailed 4 years in WWII internment camp in Utah.)
— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) July 15, 2019
My father told me stories from when he was in the Navy, a relatively rare officer of Italian descent at the time, being told by some to “go back to where he came from”. Given that he was from NJ & a volunteer, it always rankled him. The was the early 1950s, nearly 70 years ago.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) July 15, 2019
In high school, I was out with a black friend when someone yelled at her to "go back to Africa." He did not tell me to "go back to Germany."
It didn't matter that her family had been in the U.S. longer than mine. That's not the point. Only one of us was seen as American.
— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) July 14, 2019
Let’s revisit that last line of that last tweet: “It didn’t matter that her family has been in the U.S. longer than mine. That’s not the point. Only one of us was seen as American.”
That’s it. That’s the point of all of this. There are many members of Congress and state legislatures and Donald Trump’s own family who are immigrants, who are new citizens, who were not born in the U.S. But as long as they’re white, he’s not telling them to go back to anywhere. He reserves that particular criticism for black and brown women, exclusively.
Growing up & hearing racists tell my parents to “go back to their country” created a source of deep cultural shame and resentment. It took me years to unlearn this pain. To hear this from our country’s “leader” just makes me wonder how many kids he’s affecting with such rhetoric https://t.co/0xaHU1nGF2
— Natalia Valencia (@simplynatalia98) July 15, 2019
Latinos have been told for many decades to go back to their country. Many are told “go back to Mexico” even if their heritage is from some other Latin American country or their family was in parts of what is the U.S. before it became the U.S. It’s racist.
— Suzanne Gamboa (@SuzGamboa) July 15, 2019
When I was in middle school, the 12-year-old boys’ favorite insult was to tell me to go back to Russia.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) July 14, 2019
I’ve heard “Go back to your country” many many times. Most recently was about a month and a half ago in LA. It hurts my feelings every time.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) July 15, 2019
The stories just keep pouring in. This happens almost exclusively to people of color. It is racist.
I will say that while it is a first to hear words like “originally from” and “go back” from the President of the United States, I’ve heard these and variants my whole life. Sometimes more hostile than others. 1/
— Michael Li 李之樸 (@mcpli) July 14, 2019
It’s important to note that the President’s words yday, telling four American Congresswomen of color “go back to your own country,” is hallmark language of white supremacists.
Trump feels comfortable leading the GOP into outright racism, and that should concern all Americans.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 15, 2019
This is deeply personal for so many of us. I have been told countless times to “go back to my country,” but now it’s coming from the White House.
Trump’s tweets are undermining everything that we hold dear in our Constitution and our founding values. We have to call this out. pic.twitter.com/2Z2Pe7VYx2
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) July 16, 2019
Meanwhile, Republicans have stayed largely silent about Trump’s remarks, because of course they have. The GOP is completely willing to follow him into racism and bigotry because it stokes a base that is winning them elections based on fear-mongering. It’s a truly frightening time to be an American, but our hope lies with people like Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar, who are truly fighting for a strong, diverse, progressive America.