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An Open Letter to President Trump

Dear Mr. President,

Attentive as I am to current events, I could not help noticing that you were criticized in some circles the other day for your alleged utterance of a certain two-syllable noun in a private White House meeting. You were said to have used this noun to describe certain nations from which the U.S. currently accepts immigrants. The noun in question was widely viewed as being a tad vulgar and your application of it to these countries was regarded by some as being a mite insensitive.

After pondering the matter for a couple of days, I have come to the conclusion that, indeed, it might not be advisable hereafter for you to use this word again. In fact, it seems to me that it can be problematic to use any single umbrella term when seeking to characterize a group of nations around the world, each of which, after all, has its own distinctive qualities. I am sure you will agree with me that when one does generalize in this fashion, one risks being seen as reductive and as failing to appreciate the subtle nuances that distinguish one land from another and, more broadly, to be insufficiently cognizant of the importance of diversity.

With this in mind, I have prepared a world map on which I have proposed descriptive labels for about two dozen specific countries. It is appended below. I hope you will find it helpful and will consider making use of my suggestions in your future conversations. I am sorry not to have created an exhaustive list that takes into account all 195 countries on earth, but it has been a busy week.


Bruce Bawer

(Click to enlarge)