John Oliver’s recent takedown of Donald Trump has gone viral and is quickly becoming his most popular episode. Oliver calls out the many failures of Donald Trump and ends the show by revealing how Donald’s ancestors immigrated with the name “Drumpf” before they changed it to Trump.
Since Donald Trump thinks so highly of his last name, the joke was to start calling him by his more “silly sounding” immigrant name. It wasn’t enough to say that Trump wasn’t always Trump, Oliver had to literally make fun of how the “Drumpf” name sounds. I admit I laughed at this at first, but as I kept seeing the #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain pop up, I became uncomfortable.
Upon some reflection, I realized the “Drumpf” joke is actually pretty xenophobic and anti-immigrant. Drumpf only sounds funny because it’s unfamiliar and foreign to us. As Heina Dadabhoy points out:
When you say: “Drumpf sounds less presidential and competent than Trump. LOL let’s call him that!”
I hear: “Trump’s utter lack of business sense, his lies, his racism, and his overall horribleness aren’t enough to mock him for. No, we must primarily mock his ancestor’s non-Anglo-sounding name and the fact that it was changed for assimilation purposes!”
Oh, and I feel, in case you give a crap about my feelings: “With as funny-sounding an actual legal name like ‘Dadabhoy’ (that, hilariously, sounds like ‘Atta boy!’), none of y’all must think I’m competent, let alone that someone with a name anything like mine could possibly lead our country.”
There are so many things we can criticize Donald Trump over, so why do we need to resort to cheap attacks on his immigrant name? Yes I know Donald Trump regularly spouts off his own xenophobia and racism, but do we really need to sink to his level? It’s hypocritical to respond to Trump’s xenophobic and childish remarks with our own childish xenophobic joke.
Many American immigrants had to change their names because of the discrimination they faced when they arrived in this country. Simply not liking someone doesn’t give an excuse to make fun of their immigrant name. If we are going to say we are against the bullshit coming out of Trump’s mouth, then we can’t go around acting like Donald Trump.