Times when Americans were told to go home


Sign saying 'Refugees go home'Image copyright

After US President Donald Trump told four US congresswomen of colour to “go back” to the countries “from which they came”, some Americans have been sharing their own experiences of hearing that kind of language.

Tweeting from Kansas City, Victor Hwang wrote that he has been told to “go back to where you came from” his whole life.

He said it makes him “sad” that “99% of Americans don’t fully appreciate how special this nation is”.

“I’m the son of immigrants, a woman who escaped communism, a father who pulled himself up from nothing.

“I get this nation in a way that many people never will. I love America and everything it means for the world. And I belong here.”

In a three-tweet thread on Sunday, Mr Trump accused the four Democrats of “viciously” criticising him and the US.

Three of them on Friday spoke out about conditions in a migrant detention centre they had visited, describing alleged mistreatment happening “under American flags”.

Although the president did not name them, it was clear he was referring to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, who were born in the US, and Ilhan Omar, who came to the US as a refugee aged 12.

His remarks have sparked condemnation in the US and abroad. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said they were “completely unacceptable”.

Neera Tanden of the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress said that 2016 was the first time that people on Twitter began telling her “to go back to India” and sent her photos of poverty in India.

“I was born here. But they saw me as less American because I am brown. Now Trump parrots them. That is what we fight.”

New York Times writer Amy Chozick tweeted that she was 10 years old “when a kid at school told me ‘my dad said you people should go back to where you came from’… for being Jewish”.

Douglas Blackmon, the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Slavery by Another Name, told the New York Times that the phrase “Go home” has a long and troubled history.

“The president has moved beyond invoking the obvious racial slanders of 50 years ago – clichés like black neighborhoods ‘on fire’ – and is now invoking the white supremacist mentality of the early 1900s, when anyone who looked ‘not white’ could be labeled as unwelcome in America.”

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Media caption‘Why we want Americans to talk more openly about race’

President Trump has consistently rejected the accusation that he is racist and on Monday he accused the four congresswomen themselves of stoking racial division.

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