Thursday, May 05, 2016

TRYING TO EXPLAIN THE TRUMP TACO TWEET IN TERMS RIGHT-WINGERS CAN UNDERSTAND

A lot of people who don't like Donald Trump generated a lot of snark, and some actual outrage, after Trump posted this on social media, and the pro-Trump crowd can't quite imagine what the fuss was about.



Let me see if I can explain it in a way that makes sense to conservatives.

Imagine it's 1984. The Washington Post has recently published an article in which Jesse Jackson refers to Jews as "Hymies" and New York City as "Hymietown." You remember that, don't you, conservatives? You hated Jackson for that. You're still angry about it. (The neo-Nazis excepted, I suppose.)

Now, imagine it's a couple of months after that interview appeared. It's 1984, so there's no Facebook or Twitter. Instead, Jackson gets photographed in the print press. What he's doing in the photo is popping a frozen bagel into a toaster -- no, worse, heating up a frozen bagel pizza -- over a caption that reads, "Jackson: 'I love Jews! Happy Passover!'"

Get it now, Trump fans?

Nahh. I'm sure Trump fans still don't get it.

If you're white, it's hard to understand why the tweet was an insult, unless you have the ability to put yourself in the shoes of people who aren't like you -- a skill that's in short supply on the right. I'm Italian. People eat dumbed-down Italian food all the time. But nobody would open a can of Chef Boyardee and say "Happy Columbus Day!" simply because (a) even conservatives know the difference between Chef Boyardee and real Italian food and (b) people don't feel the need to reassure Italians that they don't hate us. We're accepted as white. We joined the club decades ago. We're familiar. We're not exotic anymore.

If you trace your lineage to a European country, in all likelihood you can't even imagine why Trump's tweet was insulting, because it's probably been generations since your ethnic group has been treated with a high level of contempt in America. I think Trump was trolling his critics and winking at his followers when he posted this, knowing he'd generate a huge negative reaction from people who don't like him, but I'm not sure he actually understands why people would react badly to this. I think it's beyond his comprehension -- and beyond the comprehension of his fans. They just think it's some generalized, non-specific hypersensitivity that's not an actual response to anything. I guess they'd call it "political correctness."

13 comments:

John Taylor said...

This idiot thinks that if he shoves his mug into a taco bowl, Hispanics will love him. What a simpleton.

Yastreblyansky said...

How about if it was the Iowa State Fair season and you got Daniel Boulud to fix you up a fried peanut butter and jelly on a stick sandwich for $40 and had yourself photographed eating it in a black suit in your office with the legend "I love white people".

Because to me a crucial element was that it wasn't just a fake taco but an extremely expensive one ($13.50 on the day's special menu, I looked it up) from a restaurant where no recent immigrant would be able to eat (though many no doubt work there in the lowest ranks), and another the fact that he was "eating" it, or pretending to eat it for the photographer, without company and without beer as a Sad Desk Lunch. It was so alien from so many different things!

Or imagine an even more fictional Marie Antoinette than the one in the story taking a selfie of herself eating a brioche captioned "What I do when I don't have any bread, just like poor people."

Jeff Ryan said...

For NY, $13.50 is cheap. I'd be surprised if you could get a plate of chips for that.

But no, I don't think The Donald is trolling. I do believe he is clueless enough to think "Hispanics" will be thrilled. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

Carl Jones said...

Moreover - while Mexico is huge - the Latin American world is not Mexico. There are countries where nobody would know what the hell a taco bowl is. (Hell that's true even for Mexico).

Fraud Guy said...

"If you trace your lineage to a European country..."

Don't most Hispanics trace their lineage to a European country called Spain?

Jeff Ryan said...

Try flogging an "enchirito" down there. As Taco Bell did up here. I think it means "little turd." Come to think of it...

Tim C said...

I think he and his followers are actually hypersensitive to that kind of insult, since they themselves believe they're in a besieged ethnic group being treated with contempt. Forget fried butter and bagels. They don't understand why WE don't know what an insult it is to them to have to press '1' for English, or have someone give them a coffee cup that doesn't have Santa on it at Christmastime.

So, then, was Trump knowingly being insulting? Trolling for a reaction from us to fire up his base? No, I don't get that from this either. Instead, drawing a line from his talk about a New New Deal to try to pick up Bernie fans, I think this is a genuine attempt to connect with Latino voters as part of his pivot to the general. There's plenty of evidence that he's genuinely that ignorant.

Erik C. said...

Actually, Fraud Guy, a good many hispanics are natives whose ancestors go back thousands of years in their respective countries. They speak Spanish for the same reason a good many in the U.S. speak English.

main street liberal said...


As someone who traces his lineage to (eastern) Europe, I think you sell most of us short when you write "If you trace your lineage to a European country, in all likelihood you can't even imagine why Trump's tweet was insulting, because it's probably been generations since your ethnic group has been treated with a high level of contempt in America."

Not all white males over 30 are supporters of Trump, or even Republican or conservative.

squiregeek said...

I wonder why ex-wife Marla Maples' photo in a bikini is on his desk. A lot of wives are put off by such things.

Yastreblyansky said...

Fraud Guy, as Erik says, Hispanics from Mexico south through Bolivia and Peru are of largely indigenous origin. Also those of the southwestern United States from Texas to California! Add to that for the Caribbean countries, Cuba and Dominican Republic, as well as Puerto Rico, mostly populated by the descendants of enslaved Africans.

Cubans in the US, on the other hand, really are of mostly European origin--the rich white Cubans who fled from the revolution. That's who Rubio and Cruz represent (even though their own parents were not rich they were very white), which is part of the reason why they never attracted much support from the Latino community at large.

Lawrence said...

"even conservatives know the difference between Chef Boyardee and real Italian food and" Assuming facts not in evidence here. I would like a survey conducted in rural Wisconsin. Also, concerning bigotry in general, are the bigots actually unaware they are being offensive? Isn't reminding others that they are part of a comparatively powerless minority what makes it fun?

freemansfarm77 said...

Yeah, no. We ALL get it.