Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

Americans Are Sharing What It's Like To Be Told To "Go Back To Your Country" After Trump's Racist Attack

"Trump's tweet hit me particularly hard this morning. ... Heard the lines 'go back to Mexico' and 'remember the Alamo' as I fled from bullies. I had to change schools."

Posted on July 15, 2019, at 6:05 p.m. ET

Instagram: @undefined, Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Trump's racist tweets against four progressive members of Congress have triggered emotional responses from Americans who have shared their own experiences of enduring similar hatred from playground bullies.

On Sunday, Trump attacked Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley — all first-term Democrats and women of color — in a series of tweets telling them to "leave" the United States and "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

(All four women are American, and three of them were born in the US.)

The attacks from the president were shocking to people of color. Many pointed out the last time they had heard similar rhetoric was in their youth; some felt like they were being retraumatized by the leader of their country.

i haven’t heard the “go back to your country” trope since i was in middle school. but i remember how soul crushing it was and the necessity of brushing it off in the moment. it stings and you don’t even completely know why because you’re 13.

Normally I don’t waste time on Trump tweets, but can’t let this go. When I moved to the US, a group of white girls told me in school:“go back to your country.” No one said anything. This was in MA. Trump needs to go. We will continue to rise & out organize this broken ideology. https://t.co/xfZqKdZskY

People of color described the ways hateful statements were used against them as children, often in "ironic" ways by other immigrants.

The first time someone said “go back to your country” was in elementary school, it was our neighbors kid. She said it while holding the corners of her eyes up.

When I was in Jr high, I was told by a recent Dutch immigrant classmate to go back to China. I was born in Toronto and he had just moved to Canada a few years earlier. The irony wasn't lost on me, even then.

One person said they hadn't heard remarks like "go back to where you came from" since they were 8 years old.

@tedlieu @POTUS The last time I heard this babyish, lazy insult ("Go back to where you came from") I was 8 years old. Even then it only made me feel contempt for the wannabe bully who said it.

Others said the effects and damage of such remarks, especially as young people, are long-lasting.

"I had to change schools," one person wrote as they described racist taunting from their peers.

I don't usually tweet politics.. but Trump's tweet hit me particularly hard this morning. I was ridiculed as a child because of my darker skin and last name "Rodriguez". Heard the lines "go back to Mexico" and "remember the Alamo" as I fled from bullies. I had to change schools.

Many people sadly realized that because of the US president's actions, these statements are not just a thing of the past. And in 2019, as adults, some people are resigned to accepting that "nothing changes."

I was told to go back to where I came from by playground bullies as a kid. But I don't recall hearing it once from about 1980 to 2016, when it started again. That's on Trump. https://t.co/JXDXfUOUzP

I was told to go back to where I came from in junior high school by the worst insecure losers in school. And they often didn't even know what country was I from so they were idiots on top of being bullies. I see nothing changes. https://t.co/Bc0PxtyzUJ

The first time I was told “to go back where I came from” was in middle school. I understand not agreeing with someone but this pedestrian rhetoric is hateful and disgusting.

Immigrant kids like me heard “Go back to your country” as a taunt from insecure racist bullies on the playground, particularly when they were losing. Now we have a #RacistPresident that does the same

"I remember every time I was told to 'go back to your country' and how these words made me feel," one person tweeted. "Like I didn't belong here. Like I would never belong. It is despicable such ugly words have been said by our POTUS."

Words have meaning. As an adoptee who grew up in a homogenous small town, I remember every time I was told "go back to your country" & how these words made me feel. Like I didn't belong here. Like I would never belong. It is despicable such ugly words have been said by our POTUS.

ADVERTISEMENT