Donald Trump: How Has Generalization Hurt The Fabric Of America?

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My daughter is taking a High School Spanish class through the K-12 International Academy this summer. One of her journal entry prompts said, “Generalizations can help people understand things, but unfortunately they can also be the start of setting prejudices as well.” The questions asked of my ninth grade student were “Why do you think generalizations are made? Why is it important that we learn about other cultures?”

You might wonder why I would open an article about Donald Trump talking about my daughter’s High School Spanish class, but I believe it is important to understand that in this school, the teachers are taking the time to not just have kids memorize Spanish words so they can pass a year-end test. They are being asked important “critical thought provoking” questions. The type of questions that I wonder if Donald Trump has taken the time to consider.

What Type Of Generalizations Has Donald Trump Made About Muslims That Have Hurt America?

This week Donald Trump has been accused of using generalization of the worst sort to hurt a Somali community that stretches from Minnesota to Washington DC. After the FBI charged nine young Somali-Americans in a plot to leave the US to join ISIS (Daesh) in Syria and another man of Somali descent from Minnesota, locals are outraged how Trump has generalized the Somali community of 70,000.

Trump quoted a 2015 Washington Times article talking about the high unemployment rates of Somali refugees in Minnesota. He added, “The state is having tremendous problems.”

“But the effort is having the unintended consequence of creating an enclave of immigrants with high unemployment that is both stressing the state’s safety net and creating a rich pool of potential recruiting targets for Islamist terror groups.” – Washington Times.

Trump speaks about muslim immigration.
Trump speaks about muslim immigration.

Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minnesota, responded that the organization has worked with the community in the past to stop youth from leaving to join foreign groups. He commented, “This community is thriving, and his remarks are really unfair.” He called on Republican elected officials in Minnesota to repudiate Trump’s comments. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., called Donald Trump’s comments “nonsense” and challenged Trump to a conversation about Minnesota Somalis, whom he described as a “welcoming, thriving community” on Twitter.

Donald Trump has said that he will not allow Muslims into this country. Then after backlash from his own party, he said he meant he was talking about restricting entry of Muslims from countries where terrorism is taking place. Apparently this means that Muslims will not be allowed into this country from from Brussels, France, Germany, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Indonesia, and potentially many other countries.

I wonder if this also means Muslims from the USA (meaning re-entry assumedly). As many people have said in many forms, “What a bunch of hooey!”

Mr. Trump’s generalization of Muslims is outright offensive. Considering the number of Muslims that are living in the United States alone, if we were to subscribe to Trump’s fear tactics it would be prudent not to see a skilled cardiologist, dentist, top pediatric surgeon, or attend most of the Universities in the US as there might be a Professor/terrorist on board. This is absolute “stupidity.” Hundreds of thousands of brilliant Muslim students study in this country, some of who go home to serve their country. Others remain in the United States to provide services to Americans.

Think about that wall that Trump wants to build across our southern-most boarder as another example. Certainly it might keep out some illegal aliens. However, if there is a will, there is a way. Would it be better to invest the billions (or more) dollars that it will cost to build the apartheid wall into economic development opportunities on the other side of the border that will help deter illegal border crossing in Hispanic countries?

Isn’t being a good neighbor a much better way of creating peace and prosperity than walls and guns. Look at what fifty years of war and apartheid has done between the Israelis and the Palestinians. There is no peace, no trust and no security. Worse, the Palestinians have no sustainable economy after 50 years.

While there are illegal aliens in this country that require resolution, equally there are opportunities for the United States to open our gates to immigrants from Mexico (and other countries) who have come to this country illegally and worked hard on our land to feed American lives. Most American farm jobs that are currently held by Hispanic workers are not jobs that would otherwise be taken by an American Citizen. This information was provided in a poll completed by the United Farm Workers Association. These workers need a pathway to citizenship.

“The US Social Security Administration has estimated that three out of four undocumented immigrants pay payroll taxes. They contribute six to seven billion dollars in Social Security funds that they will not be able to claim citizens. During their lifetime, immigrants will pay an average of $80,000 more per capita in taxes than they will use in government services. Is this a ‘bad deal’ for the US Government?”

Donald Trump’s policies may end America as we know it, particularly related to immigrant issues. Some say that is a good thing. Really?

Kimberly Jones is a global nomad with a special interest in the Middle East and North Africa. She grew up in Saudi Arabia and traveled throughout the MENA growing deeply attached to the people and the culture.