Word choice can reflect our inner most thoughts and shape the way other people perceive a situation. So, when Trump tweets something about an immigrant horde infesting our country, it is alarming.
Equating people with vermin has long been a segway to genocide. The Nazis did it with the Jews, early colonists did it to the Native Americans, the Hutu did it in Rwanda, and the Serb forces did it in Bosnia.
Trump’s use of the word infest is telling. It shows that he doesn’t see immigrants as people, but instead sees them as vermin or a contagion. And it is terrifying to those that have studied history.
The president’s tweet that immigrants will “infest our Country” includes an alarming verb choice for anyone with knowledge of history.
Characterizing people as vermin has historically been a precursor to murder and genocide. The Nazis built on centuries-old hatred of Jews as carriers of disease in a film titled “Der Ewige Jude,” or “The Eternal Jew.” As the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum notes on its website, in a section helpfully titled “Defining the Enemy:” “One of the film’s most notorious sequences compares Jews to rats that carry contagion, flood the continent, and devour precious resources.”
Read more about the history of Trump’s word choices, “‘INFEST’ — The Ugly Nazi History of Trump’s Chosen Verb About Immigrants” written by Aviya Kushner and posted by Forward on June 20, 2018