June 30, 2018
But among young Latinx immigrants, after the Trump comments went viral, there was some radical reclaiming of the word “animal” that piqued my interest. In particular, there was a video of a fifth-grade girl whose father was deported and who gave an impassioned speech in which she said, “The president says Mexican immigrants are animals. We are not animals! But if I was, I’d be a black panther, fighting against racism and inequality!” The crowd roared.
Among young Latinx immigrants, after the Trump comments went viral, there was some radical reclaiming of the word “animal” that piqued my interest. Trump didn’t name a species in particular, either in his speech or in the alarming White House missive, because no one species of animal has been used as a slur towards undocumented immigrants. He said “animals.” And for “animals” to be understood by everyone as an insult, it means we have agreed as a society that animals are not only inferior to us, but that we have a certain ability to cause them pain, that it is our natural right—to starve them, slaughter them, rape them, brand them. One morning, after reading about one of Trump’s executive orders, I turned to my partner and said, “This is a man who has never loved an animal.”