The New York Times Asked People To Share Stories Of Being Told To “Go Back” Where They Came From And My Heart Aches
I don’t think many of us needed reminders of all the blatant racism and xenophobia that exists in our country. From Los Angeles to Miami, Tulsa to Nashville, there has been incident after incident of racist attacks on immigrant communities, even on US-born citizens who are brown and black. Many of us have experienced these attacks first hand
But they’re being put under the microscope again as Trump’s racist comments reverberate across the country. When he told AOC and ‘The Squad’ to “go back” to where they came from – even though all but one were born in the US – he was opening up wounds for so many of us who have been told the exact same thing time and time again.
The New York Times published the story of 64 people, from 2nd generation Americans to recent immigrants from Japan, who were told to “go back” where they came from.
For many, Donald Trump’s words and the chants from his supporters just reignited the pain or the memories of their own experiences. For many people who shared their experience, they talked about first learning about being ‘different’ because of comments just like those from the President.
Before adding their stories to the actual paper, the New York Times released a super emotional video that is pretty much something all of us can relate to.
From African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Native Americans to Mexican-Americans who have been living in the US for six generations, so many people have experienced these words simply because of the way they look and sound.
In the video, many shared that it was after Trump’s election in 2016 that they began experiencing more hurtful, racist comments. That’s a theme that common from the 16,000 responses according to the New York Times.
Here’s a closer look at some of the 64 responses the NYT highlighted.
Although most of the people who shared their stories identify as people of color, many were told to ‘go back’ because of the language they speak or the clothes they were wearing. And for many, it’s been a constant stream of racist attacks ever since they were in this country as young children.
We’re also highlighting a few here. Like the story from this man who first experienced those seven words as a young boy.
Imagine simply going up to the mercado con tu mamá and having someone yell such hateful words at you…
For many of us, we don’t have to imagine it. It’s happened to us before. We’ve been waiting in line to pay for something or to order in a restaurant, when somebody feels they have the right to invade your space, interrupt your day, and Hurt your with blatantly racist words.
Even in cities with large populations of migrants and diverse communities (think LA, New York, Chicago), we are not immune.
For many, the common theme was being told to speak English.
Simple chores such as going to the post office, which Sandra Benitez’s of Washington was going, can result in racist encounters. Thankfully, she was equipped with a good come back, telling her attacker she “can speak in any language” that she wants.
While other’s pointed out they can’t even get into political discussions or disagreements without the trolls coming for their identity.
As soon as you start expressing viewpoints or having opinions as a person of color, it seems like the trolls are ready to pounce on you for being black, brown, or Muslim.
The NYT piece and the larger discussion about the words “go back” all started when Trump uttered those words in regards to four congresswomen – all of whom are women of color.
Amid infighting in the Democratic Party, Trump shared some opinions about what ‘The Squad’ should do if they’re so upset with how things are in the US. He suggested they “go back” to where they came from. Mind you: all but one of them were born right here in the US and the 4th is a US citizen.
In response to the piece, some took to Twitter to share their own experiences.
When you’re constantly being beaten down for who you are and for your culture, it’s extremely important to have the support of your family. Your family is there to teach you the importance of being you and in taking pride in your heritage.
Some have defended the President’s language but most on Twitter knew exactly what he meant.
Many pointed out just how sick they were of hearing people say that the phrase “go back” to where you came from doesn’t have any racial undertones to it. It’s obviously 100% blatantly racist to tell someone you think is different from you (based on color of their skin or the way they look) to go back where they came from.