Statement on the President’s Indecent Comments by Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco and GSE&IS Faculty

Dear Students, Colleagues, and Staff,

We write as scholars, educators and practitioners to categorically reject President Trump’s racist and despicable statement yesterday, confirmed by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, about the United States not wanting immigrants from “shithole countries” and rather preferring immigrants from countries like Norway.

This malicious language stands in complete opposition to the most fundamental humanistic and democratic ideals. The President’s words incarnate the hateful xenophobia and anti-immigrant agitation that threatens the foundation of civilized customs. The President’s words accentuate the general crisis of connection and flight from the pursuit of our inherent humanitarian obligations concerning the welfare of others. Today, millions of children of immigrants will go to our schools and libraries with fear and uncertainty as to their place in the fabric of the nation.

Mr. President: the United States is a country of consent not descent. It is a country built by peoples of all colors, races and religions.

We at GSE&IS endeavor to reclaim the narrative of belonging, social justice and inclusion, and recalibrating schools, libraries, and archives as key institutions of our nation to move beyond hate and intolerance, and for the flourishing of all human beings to their full potential. We dedicate ourselves to cultivating hearts and minds, especially younger ones, for democracy in the context of demographic change and superdiversity. We endeavor to convert a dread of the unfamiliar “Other” into empathy, solidarity, and a democratizing desire for cultural difference.  We dedicate ourselves to cultivate the humanistic ideal to find oneself “in Another” (Ricoeur [1992],1995) in the immigrant, the refugee, the asylum seeker, the forcefully displaced, the Other.

The President’s words are deeply ignorant of the facts of immigration.  But above all, they have no place in civilized discourse.

Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Wasserman Dean
Tina Christie, Chair, Department of Education
Jonathan Furner, Chair, Department of Information Studies
Jody Priselac, Associate Dean for Community Programs
Tyrone Howard, Associate Dean for Equity & Inclusion