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“Not a Skittle”: The internet responds to Donald Trump Jr.’s dehumanizing comparison of Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles candy

Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
Donald Trump Jr. addresses the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 19.
By Heather Timmons
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The eldest son of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump compared Syrian refugees to a bowl of candy on Monday (Sept. 19) in a tweet using the official Trump/Pence campaign logo:

Critics of Donald J. Trump Jr. greeted the analogy with anger and photos of some of the horrible conditions faced by Syrian refugees:

And calls for tolerance, including from former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, an immigrant:

As well as dark humor:

The Skittles brand stressed there is a difference between refugees and candy:

Someone offered to copy-edit:

And naturally, the hashtag #SkittlesLivesMatter was born:

Meanwhile, conservative talk show host and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh complained that he had tweeted it first a month ago:

Statistically, the tweet makes no sense, as Mashable pointed out: Americans, according to the conservative Cato Institute, have a one in 3.64 billion chance of getting murdered by a refugee, and there are just 162 Skittles in a bag.

And neither Trump Jr., who has a history of tweeting images and ideas from “alt-right” websites or white supremacists (the Daily Beast has a good rundown here), or Walsh can claim credit for the analogy.

The analogy, and the photo of a bowl of brightly colored candies that it is often pictured with, date back in internet history to at least May 2014, when it was used to describe the percentage of men capable of misogynistic or violent behavior toward women.

A tweet mentioning M&Ms, not Skittles was dubbed the “the embodiment of the feminist rationale” at the time and the quote in it was widely shared by feminist social media accounts associated with the #YesAllWomen movement that blossomed after a mass shooting that targeted women in Southern California.

Way back in 2014, the idea was quickly ridiculed by some men, who said things like “why take a handful instead of one at a time?” or wondered on Reddit whether they were being discriminated against.

I understand that women deal with misogyny on a frequent basis, but what am I, as a man, supposed to do with the information that women always think I’m a rapist because some men are?
Is that not discrimination? Because to me it feels like it is.

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