Features, Social

Brandon Stanton aka HoNY’s Open Letter To Donald Trump

Brandon Stanton is best known for his role behind the scenes on his Humans of New York photo blog. His voice is usually unobtrusive, only occasionally heard in the conversational blurbs accompanying the portraits of those who need a little more prompting. For the most part, the HONY portraits and the subjects therein speak for themselves. Stanton reserves speaking up for only the grimmest cases, like when interviewing Syrian refugees and Pakistan’s bonded labourers during his trip to the Middle East (which you can read more about in our upcoming April/May issue). Considering the few circumstances the photographer has considered dire enough to speak out against, Stanton’s open letter to American presidential candidate Donald Trump carries weight. Posted on the Humans of New York Facebook page yesterday, Stanton’s message acknowledges his obligation as a journalist to oppose and report on cruelty, stating “I’ve come to realize that opposing you is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one”. Throughout the short 300 word post the blogger compiles and condemns Trump’s growing list of abhorrent comments, citing the repetitive ways in which Trump continually avows white supremacy and the anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, and specifically anti-Muslim discourses. “Over the last two years I have conducted extensive interviews with hundreds of Muslims, chosen at random, on the streets of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees across seven different countries. And I can confirm— the hateful one is you”. Predicting a change in Trump’s upcoming campaign tactics, Stanton’s letter is a cautionary tale to American voters, warning that Trump’s long and discriminatory past will likely be forever ingrained in him, regardless if his upcoming rallies begin lacking their usual racially driven themes. “You are not a ‘unifier.’ You are not ‘presidential.’ You are not a ‘victim’ of the very anger that you’ve joyfully enflamed for months. You are a man who has encouraged prejudice and violence in the pursuit of personal power. And though your words will no doubt change over the next few months, you will always remain who you are”. With those final words of warning, Stanton adds an accurate portrait of Donald Trump to his portfolio. Photo courtesy of AFP/Brendan Smialowski.

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