You probably already are aware of the despicable anti-immigrant image (see the poison Skittles image below) tweeted out by Donald Trump’s vile, endanger-species-killing white supremacist son, Donald Trump Jr. That one’s being roundly condemned, and for good reason — as Raw Story explains, “Trump Jr’s ‘Skittles’ tweet is based on two different white supremacist memes — and Nazi propaganda.” As Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs tweets, “This whole [Trump] family is unbelievably disgusting.”
Also, see Snopes for some historical background on this vicious, racist, dehumanizing line of “thinking.”
The “some are poisonous, so we can’t take that chance” analogy appeared in another form decades before, in a children’s book called The Poisonous Mushroom (or, in its original German, Der Giftpilz):
A mother and her young boy are gathering mushrooms in the German forest. The boy finds some poisonous ones. The mother explains that there are good mushrooms and poisonous ones, and, as they go home, says:
“Look, Franz, human beings in this world are like the mushrooms in the forest. There are good mushrooms and there are good people. There are poisonous, bad mushrooms and there are bad people. And we have to be on our guard against bad people just as we have to be on guard against poisonous mushrooms. Do you understand that?”
“Yes, mother,” Franz replies. “I understand that in dealing with bad people trouble may arise, just as when one eats a poisonous mushroom. One may even die!”
“And do you know, too, who these bad men are, these poisonous mushrooms of mankind?” the mother continued.
Franz slaps his chest in pride:
“Of course I know, mother! They are the Jews! Our teacher has often told us about them.”
The mother praises her boy for his intelligence, and goes on to explain the different kinds of “poisonous” Jews: the Jewish pedlar, the Jewish cattle-dealer, the Kosher butcher, the Jewish doctor, the baptised Jew, and so on.
“However they disguise themselves, or however friendly they try to be, affirming a thousand times their good intentions to us, one must not believe them. Jews they are and Jews they remain. For our Volk they are poison.”
“Like the poisonous mushroom!” says Franz.
The writer of that children’s book, Julius Streicher, was also an early follower of Adolf Hitler and the publisher of Der Stürmer, a German weekly newspaper specializing in Nazi propaganda. He was sentenced to death and hanged in 1946.
So yeah, this entire line of “thinking” is virulently dehumanizing, racist, even eliminationist to its core. Which is probably why it’s a popular meme among neo-Nazis, right-wing extremists and bigots of all sorts.
With that background, check out the message below by Virginia Del. Todd Gilbert (far-far-far-right-wing “R”) and decide for yourself whether you think it sounds familiar. Also, just to give you an idea where Gilbert’s coming from, see Video: VA Del. Mark Sickles Speaks Out Emotionally, Powerfully Against Anti-LGBT Bigotry Bill; Right-Wing Republican Defends It; McAuliffe vetoes ‘religious freedom’ bill, to chagrin of conservatives; Del. Gilbert says he ‘regrets’ comments on abortion (“Gilbert, who opposes abortion rights, shocked opponents of a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion when he said: ‘In the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience.'”); his Twitter feed (filled with crap like “Speaker after speaker at
#DemsInPhilly crying about how illegal immigrants shouldn’t have to live in fear. They chose to do so.” and “I captured a Pokémon today. By captured, I mean shot. And by Pokémon, I mean groundhog.”)
P.S. By the way, believe it or not, Gilbert is Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Delegates, thus 100% in the “mainstream,” such as it is these days, of the VA GOP. Let’s see if any of his fellow Virginia Republicans call him out for this one – not holding my breath, though.