In July, actress Anne Hathaway took to Instagram to comment on the tragic murder of a woman who happened to be black. She took the opportunity to teach all white people about their privilege (here):
“The murder of Nia Wilson- may she rest in the power and peace she was denied here- is unspeakable AND MUST NOT be met with silence. She is not a hash tag; she was a black woman and she was murdered in cold blood by a white man. White people- including me, including you- must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS. White people DO NOT have equivalence for this fear of violence. Given those givens, we must ask our (white)selves- how ‘decent’ are we really? Not in our intent, but in our actions? In our lack of action?”
Therefore, all white people have power and privilege, and all fearing-for-their-lives black people do not.
To me, such a comment sounds as if the person making it 1) Has never known poor whites and 2) Doesn’t associate with any black colleagues (who can, of course, be powerful and — in the case of movie stardom — privileged).
Anne, by the way, is worth $35 million.
In response to the storming of the border Sunday, she provided the following analysis on Instagram:
My country gassed children.
There are words for my horror. To those who will immediately speak of ‘doing it the right way,’ who will ‘blame the parents for putting the children in this position,’ or say ‘they were storming the wall,’ and ‘they were throwing rocks’: the only human response to this monstrous use of force against LEGAL asylum seekers- against children- is condemnation, shame, and rage. For those that still believe in voting for the man who recommended using lethal force on families fleeing violence and persecution: this is the policy you like?
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My country gassed children. There are no words for my horror. To those who will immediately speak of “doing it the right way”, who will “blame the parents for putting the children in this position”, or say “they were storming the wall”, and “they were throwing rocks”: the only human response to this monstrous use of force against LEGAL asylum seekers- against children- is condemnation, shame, and rage. For those that still believe in voting for the man who recommended using lethal force on families fleeing violence and persecution: this is the policy you like? @nytimes
To be clear, the U.S. did not “gas” children. Its officers threw canisters which emit unpleasant fumes and work to disperse crowds — in this case, a mob attempting to storm the U.S. border. “Gassing” is what the Germans murderously did to Jews in the Holocaust. Compared to that, tossing a canister of irritating smoke outside in order to break up a horde (here) is like farting in an elevator.
Here are a few other points:
- All of Anne’s phrases in quotes are actually correct.
- Tossing canisters of tear gas is not force. It makes the air unpleasant, and makes people skedaddle.
- They are not asylum seekers. According to left-leaning MSNBC, “Some of them may be eligible for asylum in the United States, but they are in the minority of this caravan” (here).
- Storming our border is not a “legal” act.
- I’ve said before that politics is largely one giant straw man argument. The answer to the question, “For those that still believe in voting for the man who recommended using lethal force on families fleeing violence and persecution: this is the policy you like?” is simple. How can people support a man who recommended using lethal force on families fleeing violence and persecution? The answer is — He didn’t do that:
- He didn’t “recommend” using lethal force — he gave approval to use lethal force if there is no other way, and he specified that he hopes it doesn’t come to that (here).
- They aren’t, generally families. As per Fox News, “The total number of migrants in Tijuana alone break down this way: 6,062 total, comprising of 3,877 men, 1,127 women and 1,058 children.”
- As already mentioned, the vast majority of them aren’t “fleeing violence and persecution.”
Some disagreed with Anne on Instagram:
“And I will vote for this man again!! You sound pathetic!!”
“I see quite a number of people in that picture who aren’t running. And yes, this is the policy I like. Storming the borders and assaulting officers is not the way you show another country you will respect its laws.”
“Cry me a river already. Shame on the parents who would drag their children over 1,000 miles on an assumption. Since you’re so outraged, why don’t you let them stay at your house??? Typical Hollywood. All talk, zero action.”
“Hilarious. Please send an invite to all these invaders.”
“Well how about we just send all of them to your house?”
“Do you slap yourself to sleep at night? Asking for a friend.”
One response was particularly notable, recalling a certain 1993 Texas tragedy:
“It is the parents’ fault for putting their kids in harm’s way, knowing they were criminally trying to enter America illegally. Go study history as well! Clinton and Obama sued tear gas big time on kids…Clinton did it in Waco as part of the Waco massacre and Obama did it dozens of times!! Two-faced morals much?”
We do have some considerable problems at the border, and there is certainly room for debate on how to solve them. But to characterize recent events as America gassing children just isn’t anywhere near accurate. Perhaps Anne — who I very much like in movies — should take a tour of the southern perimeter. I’m sure they’d be glad to show her around — she was fantastic in The Princess Diaries. Maybe it would change her perspective.
A limo’s waiting.
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