Whenever modern politicians invoke the term [genocide] to support what they believe, you can bet that it’s being used as a club to make white people feel guilty or cloud the issue.
The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, attacked Trump last Friday for his supposed neglect of Puerto Rico. She said, “what we are going to see is something close to a genocide,” and that unless America (and Trump) acted with more haste “the world will see how we are treated not as second-class citizens but as animals that can be disposed of. Enough is enough.”
This is very powerful rhetoric that provokes outrage. But what she left out is that she is abusing liberal code words like genocide, failing to take responsibility for his passivity in the face of the oncoming hurricanes, and obscuring how Puerto Rico has been mismanaged for decades (as Trump correctly argued in response on Saturday). In short, this is typical blame shifting using emotionally loaded terms.
The mayor of San Juan is using it in the same way here. Like most liberals, the mayor found this useful in shutting down debate, and scoring points with voters
The term genocide is most often used in the description of what white Europeans did to Native Americans. What actually happened over the 400 years of interaction between Natives and Europeans is far more complicated and removed from what the term genocide actually means. Whenever modern politicians invoke the term to support what they believe, you can bet that it’s being used as a club to make white people feel guilty or cloud the issue.
The mayor of San Juan is using it in the same way here. Like most liberals, the mayor found this useful in shutting down debate, and scoring points with voters. There is absolutely no evidence that Trump is neglecting the island at all, let alone neglecting the island because dark skinned people are there and he wants to exterminate them. The governor of Puerto Rico said that the Trump administration has provided admiral help and that Trump receives high marks from the public for his handling of the hurricanes.
In the last 20 years there have been 15 major floods or hurricanes in Puerto Rico. Yet Puerto Rican politicians have done little to move settlements back from the beach, build flood walls, or move power plants to more secure locations. They’ve racked up a good deal of debt, let the infrastructure crumble, and failed to stockpile resources for this hurricane.
A similar shortage of food and goods happened after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, yet the politicians did little to prepare, and most of the money went to rebuilding houses in the same spot, instead of moving them to less flood prone areas. Even with the benefit of hindsight and advanced warning of this hurricane, politicians like Cruz did very little to prepare.
Instead of taking the blame for not adequately preparing, Cruz took the much easier path of hurling insults such as “Bush hates black people” or “Trump is treating us like dogs.” Using that kind of language doesn’t require any hard evidence, and it provides the benefits of looking like they care, gaining angry minority voters, and avoiding blame.
The mayor of San Juan is just the latest in a long line of politicians that failed to prepare their people and chose incendiary rhetoric over responsibility in the face of the consequences of their inaction.