Donald Trump recently leapt over his already high bar for racist rhetoric by tweeting that four Democratic congresswomen should ‘go back to their own countries,’ implying that none of them were from America. That’s right, the country where they are legally elected officials. Trump is obviously a racist who only sees white people as citizens of the country he presides over, but he still manages to shock everyone sometimes with how open he is about it.
Our Country is Free, Beautiful and Very Successful. If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019
Trump might be shocking white Americans who are not heinous racists, but many people of color have been met with this phrase throughout their lives. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of his targets, responded by saying his statement was the “hallmark language of white supremacists.”
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.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 15, 2019
Trump feels comfortable leading the GOP into outright racism, and that should concern all Americans.
Trump might be saying “go back to your country” out loud on Twitter for the first time, but it’s not the first time POC have had the phrase wielded against them. People began sharing times they have had someone say that to them—on the internet, at work, in the schoolyard, and on the street.
It’s rooted in centuries of ignorance, violence and white supremacy. This man does not represent us. And in 2020 we will vote him the f**k out.— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) July 15, 2019
The phrase obviously has nothing to do with a person’s actual origins. Some people shared how nonsensical the phrase is in relation to where they actually grew up (as well as how racist):
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
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
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
I'm so sorry for laughing at "That's very far and I'm Canadian."— Benjamin Sachse (@benjaminsachse) July 15, 2019
I’m sure many JOC have been. “Go back to your country,” “go back to Iran,” “go back to where you came from” or something like that drops into my inbox anytime I write about identity, race, immigration or a similar topic. I’m from San Diego. https://t.co/HMk7fiTUzd— Sarah Parvini ???? (سارا) (@sarahparvini) July 15, 2019
This sort of racist harassment isn’t actually about immigration at all, as some white immigrants have pointed out. There are many white immigrants here on visas—and illegally! But they’re not the target of Donald Trump or his cronies, and some shared how different their experience has been:
I’ve been in the US almost 30 years (as a white European immigrant) and have also never had anyone say it to me. It’s crystal clear this is all about racism; nothing less.— Trevor Hughes (@Trendar) July 16, 2019
Ironically, there are very few people who are more American than the women working to transform our government as elected officials. If they didn’t care so much about their country, their lives would probably be a lot easier!