Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trump - Skittles - Refugees

On Monday night  tweeted 

Donald Trump Jr compared Syrian refugees not to skittles but to poisoned skittles. Ignoring the fact that Trump has no idea what he is talking about, what bothers me so much about this image is the reductionism - desperate asylum seekers being reduced to a few poisoned Skittles - this is so dehumanizing.

Wrigley, the company that owns Skittles, responded: "Skittles are candy. Refugees are people."

Now, the person who took the picture of the bowl of Skittles, David Kittos, back in 2010, who is himself a refugee, has come forward and said that Trump is using the image without his permission."This was not done with my permission, I don't support his politics and I would never take his money to use it" BBC.

What often happens, is that we feel we have to protect ourselves from others and so we distance ourselves from them. We turn them into objects so we can treat them without having to consider their feelings. When we objectify others, we strip them of their humanity and their individuality, we depersonalize them.

The opposite of objectification is empathy. And that seems to be in very short supply these days. To empathize with another is to see them as fully human and as worthy of respect and dignity as we believe ourselves to be. It results in compassion and mercy, generosity and hospitality. Accepting an increased quota of appropriately vetted refugees from Syria and other places seems to be an entirely empathic, Christian thing to do. 

And if I remember correctly that’s pretty much was Jesus told us to do.

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