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.
7 thoughts on “Invasion/Infestation. My Third Tiny Pricks”
Remember that childhood adage? … Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Not true! Words like infestation and invasion can be very dangerous when used to dehumanize people, especially minorities. Reminds me of Nazi Germany and the Polish death camps. Thank you for sharing this. Very thought provoking!
I agree Barbara, words and names can be very powerful depending on how they are used.
Oops! I should have said “names will never hurt me.” Oh well, I think you know what I meant, Maria.
THIS would make a great poster.
Also, as a proud and committed non-sewer who failed home ec, I can happily report that I have completed a Tiny Pricks piece.
Oh Jeanne, congratulations on your Tiny Prick. I love that you didn’t let that you don’t sew stop you. That’s a beautiful thing. I’ll look for your piece on Instagram. If you want to send me a picture of it, I’d love to post it on my blog too.
Your Tiny Pricks “Invasion/Infestion” project looks great.
I found the perfect embroidered linen hand towel in my stash on which I think I will embroider the word “NASTY” that he uses over and over and over again, then submit it. You said it, Barbara, Nazi Germany all over again! I should know, my father-in-law was rounded up in a Gasthaus in his little town for speaking up against the Nazis and dragged off to Dachau concentration camp. He was very ill from having only raw turnips for food, but survived (barely, at 89 lbs.) the last year of WWII at Dachau when the Americans liberated the prisoners. His wife and 5 children did not recognize him when he arrived back home.
Too bad your current “person” (and I use the term loosely) doesn’t recognize the signs and the error of his ways.
I love your Tiny Pricks idea Fran. So glad you’re going to be a part of it. Your story of your father-in-law is an awful and powerful one. Thanks for sharing it here. I think such personal stories really make us feel and understand in a different way.