My third Tiny Pricks, called Infestation/Invasion, turned out just as I pictured it.
I started with the vintage embroidery of a Mexican couple that someone sent me a while ago and surrounded them with the words, infestation and invasion.
Donald Trump has used these words again and again to describe immigrants and refugees coming into our country, and neighborhoods where people of color live. When used in this way, both words have a long racist history in the United States.
Language Columnist, Ben Zimmer wrote about them in two different articles.
In “Where does Trumps Invasion Rhetoric Come From“, Zimmer describes how in the late 1800s Chinese immigrants coming to the West Coast were thought of as unarmed, insidious, invaders.
When Chinese immigration was restricted in 1882, the word invasion continued to be used to describe other groups of people coming to the United States at different times in our history.
In his article What Trump Talks About When He Talks About Infestations, The frightening political history of the word infest, Zimmer writes:
“Historically the verb “infest” has been used to talk not just about literal pests and diseases, but also to compare people—very often minorities and immigrant groups—to pests and diseases.”
He makes the point that when you compare people to pests and disease, they don’t have to be seen as people anymore.
Both words imply that something needs to be done to eradicate the people they refer to. “Infestations justify exterminations,” wrote NY Times columnist Charles M. Blow. And military force is what we usually use to stop invaders.
You can follow my process of making Invasion/Infestation here.