Getty / Nicholas Kamm


Don’t fall for the “exceptional immigrant” trap, you don’t need to be a hero to deserve respect

January 12, 2018
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This week, president orange ignited the fury of both liberal and conservative alike when reports broke of him questioning why the U.S. allows immigrants from “shitholes” like Haiti and Africa into the country. It’s getting harder for even some racists to deny Trump’s brand of racism is pretty vile, and many are using this moment to distinguish his from theirs to make theirs seem more acceptable. Don’t fall for it.

The way to tell who is hoodwinking you in moments like these is first to see who called out his racism before it was relatively safe to. But this isn’t surefire, as sometimes (and hopefully) people have grown smarter over time, and may find things offensive now that they are “woker” than they did before.

But the second way to tell is to see who they are actually advocating for, and whether that includes the most marginalized. In response to Trump’s comments, for instance, resident racist and conservative thought leader Bill Kristol thought he might score some points by pointing out that some heroes come from the countries Trump called “shitholes.”

You shouldn’t have to be a hero to be respected. That’s what got us here in the first place. People like Trump get to assign who is “good” and who is “bad,” and then they claim only the “good” are worthy of dignity.

There are regular people even people with flaws, who deserve to be protected and helped. And just because Trump’s hatred applies to more people than Kristol’s, doesn’t mean Kristol’s is any better. It’s just a different version of racism.