The smell of green enchiladas permeated the air as my family sat down for dinner at my grandma’s house this summer in Los Angeles, Calif. While we settled into our respective spots at the dinner table, Univision–the popular Spanish language channel–aired a segment regarding the recently announced Republican candidate Donald Trump, speaking about disparaging comments he had made about Mexicans.
While the rest of my family ignored the imbecilic commentary, I looked at my dainty, 84-year-old Mexican immigrant grandmother across the table and asked, “What do you think about Donald Trump, Abuela?” Without skipping a beat, she responded, “Él es el pendejo más grande en todo el mundo,” which translates to, “He is the biggest idiot in all of the world.”
While my grandmother’s comment may have been blunt, her words were warranted considering Donald Trump’s egregious generalizations regarding Latinos. Immigrating from Mexico to the U.S. in the 1950s, my grandmother worked to achieve middle class status in a foreign land with only a third grade education.
Eventually, she was able to open up a restaurant, and along with my grandfather, raised my father and his three siblings in the suburbs of Los Angeles. They started from nothing, and created a beautiful life in this country. However, in Donald Trump’s world, the achievements of my grandparents and Latinos alike are an anomaly as he barrages Mexicans and the Latino population with comments such as:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
While there are Latinos that may fit Mr. Trump’s critical categorizations, he asserts that the majority of Latinos are scum. Who pissed in his Burrito? The world may never know, but Latinos have become an enemy of the state to Trump. If elected president, he plans to deport 11 million undocumented Latinos and force Mexico to construct a wall across the Mexican border. Not just any normal wall, but one that is “not penetrable, a serious wall,” according to Mr. Trump on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show.
Trump is making quite the splash with Latino voters, and by splash, I mean he’s drawing out about as much water as one would get jumping into a dried up lake in California. His Latino support is slim to none as a result of his comments. The fourth Republican debate accentuated Trump’s stance, and singularized his view on immigration.
Currently, Trump’s grandiose plan to solve immigration is to simply send all the undocumented immigrants back across the border, as well as relinquish undocumented immigrant children’s birthright citizenship. His own party takes issue with his outrageous opinions on immigration policy and believe they are detrimental to the Republican party as a whole amongst Hispanic voters.
“This is not embracing American values and will tear apart communities,” Jeb Bush said. “The way you win the presidency is to have practical plans.”
Trump’s racist statements are neverending. In a technological age in which inappropriate Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram pictures have cost people their jobs, Mr. Trump has yet to withdraw from the Republican primary after tweeting asinine comments such as, “Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.”
His remarks are blatantly inappropriate and make one wonder how someone with such little regard for respectful language leads the Republican primaries at the moment. Ignorance runs rampant across America, and Mr. Trump both epitomizes and perpetuates the problem. He attempts to make repressed ideas regarding race and ethnicity in American society socially acceptable, when in fact, they should be removed completely.
Moreover, in a time when racial inequalities have been amplified by recent acts of prejudice, a country yearning for racial justice should not stand for such intolerant banter.
When asked about the beating of a Hispanic man in Boston that was administered by two white males in the name of Donald Trump, Trump commended his supporters for their passion. Trump said, “They love this country and want it to be great again,” only to later clarify he did not condone their violence.
While he may not be a proponent of violence, his bigoted words inspire people to conduct these heinous crimes. As a Latino, this is an unnerving thought to me. Trump’s words are resonating with people, and as a result, these radical people are legitimizing hate crimes against Latinos.
More recently, Trump voiced his opinion on the University of Missouri student protests and subsequent faculty resignations. He called faculty members “weak” and deemed the concerns and demands of the students “crazy” and “disgraceful.” While the incidents at the University of Missouri were not primarily focused on racism against Latinos, the response given by Donald Trump attests to his overall view on racial equality.
Why elect a president who does not give a voice to the oppressed? Why elect a man who does not stand for justice? Why give the time of day to someone who embodies ignorance?
Let’s “Make America Great Again” by ensuring this man stays as far away from the White House as possible.
Featured Image by Breck Wills / Heights Graphic