Trump’s Prejudice

It seems like a parody. It’s hard to believe that someone who says, with all the certainty in the world, that the Mexicans that immigrate to the United States are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists” could be a serious person.

And it’s not just any person, it’s Donald Trump, a businessman with an $8.7 billion fortune — built in part thanks to his business with Mexico and other Latin American countries. But it’s not satire. In effect it is him announcing his bid for the Republican nomination and looking for sympathy from a part of the American population by appealing to stereotypes and xenophobic arguments.

But the most worrying part of all is that it appears to be working. This week, a survey showed that in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states that vote in the primaries, Trump is in second place in the Republican race following Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and brother of former President George W. Bush.

The race for the White House is just starting, but the fact that among so many candidates someone with Trump’s discourse is welcomed is a symptom of a larger problem. The Republican Party has not officially reproached his comments and none of the other candidates have dared to contradict him with the vehemence he deserves. They fear the part of the electorate that has confused its ideal country with xenophobia.

Mr. Trump and the Republicans are forgetting that the United States is a country of immigrants, and that there are currently 38 million legal immigrants — 12 percent of the total population. They forget that in recent years, thanks to Mexico’s economic growth, the migration rate of Mexicans to the United States is zero — i.e., the number of Mexicans that enter the country is almost the same as the number that leave — and that xenophobia has never been a good foreign policy, even less so for a country that prides itself on its global influence.

In an act of justified indignation, Hispanics of the world have made their rejection of his words known. Univision, the most-viewed Latino channel in the United States, ended its contracts with Trump and has refused to continue broadcasting the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants, both organized by Trump. NBC, the television network that broadcasted one of his reality shows, also cut ties. The magnate tried to sue, arguing that they are violating his freedom of speech, but this argument is incoherent: If he has every right to share his prejudices with the world, the people of the world also have the right to decide not to do business with him.

Following this logic, Mexico and Costa Rica withdrew from the Miss Universe pageant, an audacious decision that other countries, especially in Latin America, should follow. Paulina Vega, the Colombian who currently wears the Miss Universe crown, said on Instagram that she finds “Mr. Trump’s comments unfair and hurtful,” but doesn’t plan to withdraw, saying “if the Miss Universe organization shared his anti-Latino sentiments, I wouldn’t be in this position today.” Understandable, but the reality is that Miss Universe is one of the pillars of Trump’s economic empire and it reinforces his image and his alliances. The best thing to do would be to completely reject discrimination and give up the crown.

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