Last Sunday the president of the United States, Donald Trump, published a series of tweets that sent shockwaves through Congress and through the Internet.
"It is so interesting to see the progressive" democratic "parliamentarians, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, the most corrupt and inept in the world (if they even have a functioning government), now to aloud and brutally saying to the people of the United States, the largest and most powerful nation in the world, how our government should be managed, "the president tweeted.
While Trump did not mention the congressional women he was referring to, he was widely suspected that the comments referred to four newly elected Democratic deputies known as "The Squad": Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, representative of New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, representative of Massachusetts Ayanna Pressley and representative of Michigan Rashida Tlaib, who are among his strongest critics.
Trump's tweets have been strongly condemned, both by the Democrats and by American politics.
"I know racism when I see it," said Representative John Lewis of Georgia, whose skull broke during a civil rights march in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. "At the highest level of government, no 39; it is space for racism. "
A few days after the beginning of the backlash, the former first lady Michelle Obama made an indirect reference to the incident in a tweet.
"What makes our country really great is its diversity. I have seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. If we were born here or seek refuge here, it's a place for all of us. We must remember that it's not my America or your America. It's our America, "read the tweet.
The House president, Nancy Pelosi, said that Trump wanted to make the America "white again".
Most Democratic presidential candidates also recalled Trump's statements.
"We call the president's racist attack exactly what it is: non-American," said Senator Kamala Harris.
For the most part, Trump's party was at his side. Only four Republicans have chosen to formally condemn the comments to a House vote this week.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said that Trump was not a racist, but he also urged leaders "from president to president to newcomers to the House" to attack ideas, not people who marry them.
Trump himself has refused to give up, saying he has no "racist bone" in his body. He accused the four lawmakers of having vomited hatred for America.
However, Donna Givens, an African-American neighborhood organizer who leads the Eastside Community Network in Detroit, said that Trump's tweets were profoundly offensive.
"He immediately reminded me of being a child and was told to come back to Africa, (n-word) & # 39; – he told me repeatedly," he said. "My grandmother used to tell me to tell them to go back to their caves in Europe."
In light of the incendiary rhetoric, "I don't think we can pretend that the American workplace is a safe place for immigrants, people of color or women," said Givens. "The president has a bully pulpit. And the president sets the tone. And so now there are people who feel justified in their hatred."
While Trump initially said he did not agree with a crowd that sang "send her back" in reference to Omar during a rally on Wednesday, he has since rejected these claims and labeled the participants "incredible patriots".
Here is a line-by-line breakdown of racist nuances in the tweets of the president of the United States.
"So interesting to see, & # 39; Progressive & # 39; Democratic Congresswomen …"
Even the first six words of the president's tweets are problematic, explained Professor Seth Abramson of the University of New Hampshire.
Abramson notes that Trump puts the word "progressive" in quotation marks and chooses the word Democratic in favor of Democratic.
"He calls them as he does rather than for what they are because No. 1, he never uses the phrase "Democratic Party". He says "Democratic Party", which, as you may know, is an insult against the Democratic Party to suggest that it is not democratic, but rather socialist or communist, " explained Abramson.
Capitalizing and putting the word "progressive" in quotation marks, Abramson says that Trump is suggesting that the deputies are not actually progressive, but rather socialist or communist. This sentiment was reiterated by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who later appeared on Fox News and described women as communists.
"… which originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, the most corrupt and inept in any part of the world (if they even have a functioning government) …"
McMaster University's cultural critic and professor, Henry Giroux, said he interprets this line to indicate that Trump is implicating countries whose populations are mainly black people are corrupt and persecuted by crime.
"It's a blatantly racist stereotype," he said.
Furthermore, Abramson notes, the declaration on women in Congress is not correct.
WATCH: Trump denies tweets against the four Democrats they were racist
"Ayanna Pressley comes from the United States. It is African American, so there is no country from which it comes, let alone a complete and totally catastrophic government, " He explained.
He went on to say that one of Ocasio-Cortez's parents comes from Puerto Rico, a US territory for which Donald Trump is the head of state.
"Many of the powers of the Puerto Rican government come from the US government, and again, the head of state is Donald Trump, so it's an outrageous statement to make on Puerto Rico, " Abramson said.
Every member of The Squad is an American citizen, only Omar was born outside the United States.
"… now, aloud, telling the people of the United States, the largest and most powerful nation in the world, how our government should be managed".
Abramson states that these statements indicate that Trump does not consider Omar, Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib as part of the United States or members of his government.
"It is putting these four women out of the US category of people and putting these four women, all of whom are in the US government, outside the phrase "our government", so not only are these women in Congress not part of it of our government, they are not part of the United States, "he said.
"Because they don't come back and help to fix the totally broken and raw places (sic) from which they came, then they come back and show us how it's done".
"The long-standing phrase that has been used against successive waves of immigrants from all over the world in the United States over the last hundred years is" come back "," go back where you came from. "He is using an ever-lightly modified, " Abramson said.
"This is shocking."
WATCH: The United States House of Representatives has passed a resolution condemning President Donald Trump's racist tweets about four democratic congressional women.
Giroux is in agreement.
"This is a racist and dehumanizing comment that seems to suggest that these people do not belong to the country … And the reason they do not belong to the country, according to Trump, is because they are women of color, because they are not white, " He explained.
Sidrah Maysoon Chan, one of the senior coordinators of the Ocasi Policy Group, added that telling someone to return to their country is an expression based on American colonial roots.
"Telling someone to return to their country is a racist slogan rooted in white supremacy. It is based on the colonial idea that Canada and America inherently belong to whites and whites alone," he said.
He went on to explain that these words are so dangerous because "they usually don't come by themselves".
"Saying to someone they don't belong to, who aren't accepted here, puts a target on them: sets the stage for violence and abuse of that person in a mob mentality," said Chan.
"These places need your help badly, you can't leave fast enough. I'm sure Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly find free travel deals!"
Giroux notes that the reference to Pelosi exudes a toxic and hyper-masculine tone. He adds that in telling these women "you can't leave fast enough", Trump could deduce "please leave the country, you don't belong here."
Chan added that comments like these are based on the founding concepts of white supremacy.
"The idea that white settlers inherently" possessed "this land is what was used to justify atrocities such as the residential school system in Canada, among many other damages done to indigenous peoples here," he explained.
"The phrase is back where you come from is rooted in white supremacy. It is a tool used to claim this land only as belonging to whites."
WATCH: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responds to Donald Trump's attacks: "We don't leave the things we love"
What does this mean for the national discourse?
After the backlash of Trump's tweets, the crowds of one of his election meetings held later in the week began to recite the phrase "send her back" in reference to Omar, who initially Trump said he was not an agreement before to call the chanters "incredible patriots".
Giroux and Abramson agree that the language used in singing is dangerous because it dehumanizes and legitimizes the "alteration" of marginalized communities in the United States.
"It allows others to basically legitimize it when they use it alone," said Giroux.
Both Kathy Hogarth, associate professor of social work at the University of Waterloo, and Giroux stated that it is necessary to respond to racist language in public forums to combat it.
"Until we are prepared to call racism (it is important to name it), to hold ourselves accountable for racist actions, we will continue to devolve as a democratic society," Hogarth said in a statement.
– With files from the Canadian Press and the Associated Press
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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