Donald Trump Jr. posted a meme comparing refugees to Skittles. There's more to it than you may think.
On Sept. 19, 2016, Donald Trump Jr. posted a picture of a bowl of skittles that sent the Internet spiraling.
Some people looked at the image and saw Syrian refugees. Others looked at the meme and were like, "Wait, what? Those are clearly a bowl of fruit-flavored candy."
This image says it all. Hillary Clinton is asking us to take chances with American lives because of a politically motivated agenda that doesn't put America first. Hillary Clinton wants a 550% INCREASE in refugees from countries where ISIS currently occupies. What if just one is a terrorist? What if two are? Three? Hillary will increase the risk of more terrorism happening in this country. That is risk we simply cannot afford!! #Trump #MAGA #AmericaFIRST #makeamericagreatagain #trump2016 #trumppence
A photo posted by Donald Trump Jr. (@donaldjtrumpjr) on
And, look, I get it! To the untrained eye it is a hard distinction to make. On the surface, Skittles and Syrian refugees seem like they have so much in common.
Don't worry. I'm here to help. Here's a quick primer on how to tell the two apart:
These are Skittles, a bite-sized, chewy, fruit-flavored candy.
These are refugees, actual human beings fleeing conflict and persecution.
These are Skittles, which come a variety of flavors, including original, tropical, sour, and wild berry.
These are refugees. Over half of the world's estimated 21.3 million refugees are under the age of 18.
These are Skittles, a brand with nearly 24 million Facebook fans.
These are refugees. Before being admitted to the U.S., refugees undergo an extensive vetting process that can last months.
These are Skittles. They debuted in the U.K. back in 1974. Five years later, they made their way to the U.S.
This is a refugee. The odds of an American dying in an act of terrorism committed by a refugee are actually just 1 in 3.64 billion a year.
On the flip side, the odds of an American dying in an act of terrorism committed by a U.S. citizen are 1 in 20 million.
These are Skittles. Since 1994, their slogan has been "Taste the rainbow."
These are refugees. They're coming to America for safety, even though anti-Muslim hate crimes have increased as much as 78% over the past year in the U.S., the highest rate since the aftermath of 9/11. Just under half of U.S.-bound refugees are Muslim.
These are Skittles. Since 2009, they've been vegan.
This is a refugee. Politicized, anti-refugee speech has gotten so out of hand that the UN is addressing that very issue this week.
How'd you do? Could you tell them all apart?
Seriously, though, there's a big problem with Trump Jr.'s meme and the imagery it evoked. It's about far more than comparing real human people to fruit-flavored candy.
This type of "it only takes one" mentality is designed to create fear of the unknown in readers (and, perhaps more importantly, in voters). It also has a really horrific origin involving Nazis.
Luckily, there are things we can do about this political propaganda. Namely, we can resist these politicized attempts to make us feel afraid of what we don't know.
Empathy is sometimes all we have in this world. It's what connects a man in Des Moines to a woman in Aleppo; it's what brings together a child from Boise and a teen from Kabul. It's what makes us human, and it's why we need to fight back against the forces that try to strip that humanity from us.
Stay strong, fight the urge to give in to shameless fear-mongering, and above all, stay empathetic.
And if you ever find yourself struggling to tell the difference between refugees and Skittles again, the good people at Mars came up with a handy, easy-to-remember tip to tell them apart:
https://t.co/VUwYKzqujc— Mars, Incorporated (@Mars, Incorporated)1474348404.0