NEW YORK — There was no rainbow to taste, only outrage for the Trump Campaign Tuesday after Donald Trump Jr. tweeted an meme comparing the Syrian refugee crisis to a bowl of Skittles.
“If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem,” the caption said.
The tweet was met with a fiery response from critics who lashed out at Trump Jr. and the Trump campaign for their apparent dehumanizing view of the humanitarian crisis.
“These are no Skittles” read numerous tweets, showing the many faces of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.
The Mars Company, which makes Skittles even weighed in on the controversy tweeting: “Skittles are candy; refugees are people. It’s an inappropriate analogy.”
“I mean it was absolutely outrageous,” Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York who serves Syrian refugees, told PIX11 News.
Sarsour said she’s outraged but not surprised by the now-viral tweet.
“This is how Donald Trump got to where he got to,” she said. “Being hateful, inciting hatred on communities, misinformation.”
“Those Syrian refugees that are coming to the United States went through a very long process that includes years of verification, of health testing and criminal background checks,” she explained.
The facts on the Syrian refugee crisis often gets lost amid the politics and rhetoric of the election season, according to Sarsour.
It ultimately sparks concerns, but the data is there.
Dr. Georgette Bennett, founder of the Multi-Faith Alliance for Syrian refugees, points to statistics that show Syrians have contributed to the global economies.
In regards to terrorism, the possibility of a refugee being an actual threat is less likely when compared to being a victim of every-day crime in the United States.
“There's a lot of misinformation and disinformation and it needs to be offset with the facts,” Dr. Bennett told PIX11 News. “One of the things we know from research is that it is possible to move the needle in terms of attitudes towards refugees.”
“The more people understand about the crisis, the more personal stories they hear, and especially when they hear that refugees really want to go home,” she explained. “That makes a huge difference."