When Ruby Bridges walked into her local public school as the first black student in its history, racists against school segregation stood outside the doors waiting for her arrival, threw things at her as she tried to walk inside, and chanted “go back where you came from.’ The phrase is a long-used racist trope with too long a history in this country.
Your racism is inciting hatred all over America…
You have torn our nation apart—but we will come together in 2020 to defeat you.
— Ryan Knight 🗽 (@ProudResister) July 20, 2019
After Donald Trump used the same phrase to attack four black and brown congresswomen – Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-OH), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) – most Americans quickly recognized it as a racial slur. Black and brown Americans who were born here or become naturalized citizens are just as much as part of this country with a right to criticize its policies and leadership as white Americans, regardless of their ethnicity. Trump and his supporters, however, disagree.
On Saturday, a black Georgia lawmaker named Erica Thomas tweeted out a video describing an incident that had happened to her earlier that same day. Thomas is nine months pregnant and her husband is currently on active duty in the military, but a white man verbally attacked her in a grocery store, telling her to “go back where you came from.”
‘I decided to go live because I’m very upset because people are getting really out of control with this, with this white privilege stuff. I’m at the grocery and I’m in… the aisle that says ’10 Items or Less.’ Yes, I have 15 items, but I’m nine months pregnant and I can’t stand up for long. And this white man comes up to me and says, ‘You lazy sonofabitch… You need to go back where you came from.’
Thomas’s video was tearful and painful to watch, but it’s unsurprising. Incidents like these didn’t begin with Trump, but the perpetrators have certainly been emboldened by Trump’s blatant, public racism.
Twitter immediately made #IStandWithErica go viral. Read some of their comments below: