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Author Topic: Mechanisms of Prejudice: Hidden and Not Hidden  (Read 6190 times)

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    • Agelbert Truth AND Consequences
Agelbert NOTE: Scholar Judy Klass tells it like it is. My hat is off to her for this expert accurate analysis of the inexcusable actions by Trump 🦀 and his wrecking crew .

How do you think history will look at the Trump administration's policy of separating families at the border and putting children in what could be called concentration camps?

Judy Klass  , Truman Scholar, D.Phil Political Science/Latin American Studies, bookish wonk

Answered Jun 26, 2018

Hyperbole is dangerous. It’s true that even Godwin has said that thoughtful, well-informed people might compare Trump ‘s rhetoric with Hitler’s without looking ridiculous via Godwin’s Law — and after all, Trump’s rhetoric since he launched his campaign has been all about scapegoating the Other, and may well be modeled on the rhetoric that brought Hitler to power.

Donald Trump 'kept book of Adolf Hitler's speeches in his bedside cabinet and may have read it for inspiration'

But it’s tricky to talk about concentration camps. It bothers me when the internment camps in which Japanese Americans were held during World War II, as awful and unjust and un-American as they were, are called concentration camps — because for most people, concentration camp = death camp. It means Auschwitz. (Or “Holocaust Centers,” as Sean Spicer might say.) There are rotten, dehumanizing prisons for civilians in many places, but not many where huge numbers of people of all ages are gassed to death, their bodies then burned in crematoria. That was unusual. I’d only compare a few things to that: the Killing Fields of Pol Pot in Cambodia, what the Serbian Christians did to Bosnian Muslims at Srebenica over the course of a few days in the 1990s — the ugliest and most genocidal impulses that people have.

The internment camps that Japanese Americans were forced to live in may be a better analogy for the camps that the Trump administration now plans for parents and children who come here seeking asylum. (Those internment camps are the one thing that a lot of people condemn FDR for — and the only thing about FDR that Trump has talked about admiringly.) And there are crummy facilities for refugees all over the world.

The policy of separating children at the border that’s been in place for months — that’s kind of its own thing. Abusing refugee children to penalize their parents … I hadn’t quite heard of that one before. That’s something kind of distinctive and new that will be remembered about this administration. History will view it as being of a piece with numerous Trump era policies: framing various vulnerable minority groups as the dangerous “invading,” “infesting” Other; casually lying as smoothly as Hitler did and with the same gusto; appealing to people’s lizard brains and basest impulses; incompetent and incoherent policies that do as much harm accidentally as the few well-organized policies do intentionally … it’s of a piece with allowing 4,600 Americans to die in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and lying wildly about the numbers. It’s of a piece with mocking a Gold Star family because they are Muslim. It’s as ugly and incoherent and unjustifiable as the travel ban that the Supreme Court has now upheld. And so on.

Sessions and Trump and Nielsen and Huckabee Sanders — they can prevaricate and say oh, blame Democrats, blame the courts, this has been the policy all along, but it’s a policy John Kelly and Stephen Miller and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions came up with and put in place, and Miller and Sessions have acknowledged as much in the past. Under Obama, if a family turned themselves in at the border, the parent would be given a court date for the misdemeanor — and there was often someone they knew that they all could stay with until then, and most of the time they’d show up for their hearing, and if they were considered a flight risk, the parent could wear an ankle bracelet. That cost a little money, but not the thousands we’re now paying every day for each parent and child housed separately — and, soon, possibly housed together, indefinitely. It’s a waste of tax-payer dollars on an unnecessary policy because the system was working before and there were few crimes committed by those released on their own recognizance.

The Trump administration implemented this jarringly cruel policy of separating children from parents with no good system for keeping track of both, no long-term plan for how to reunite them, and now they have no clear plan for the changed policy they’ve announced … it’s wasteful, mean-spirited incompetence tinged with racism, all the way down the line.

That’s what history will remember about this policy and about this administration in general: no thought, no care, just the petulant, impulsive wrecking of long-standing policies and treaties that have been painstakingly assembled and were working well, casual violations of human rights, and cruelty for its own sake — again and again.


Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.


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