Over the weekend, Alejandro González Iñárritu received an award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. During his acceptance speech, he thanked the museum for working toward inclusivity, and building a space that welcomes “every race, age or social class.” He went on to discuss film’s role in sharing human experiences with different kinds of people, regardless of where they’re from. But he also touched on those trying to divide us with hateful rhetoric. Though he never mentioned him by name, it was clear his comments were alluding to Donald Trump.
“Unfortunately, there are currently people proposing we build walls, instead of bridges,” Iñárritu said. “I must confess that I debated with myself, if I should bring up this uncomfortable subject tonight. But in light of the constant and relentless xenophobic comments that have been expressed recently against my Mexican fellows, it is inevitable.”
Thankfully, he did speak up because he brought the hammer down on Trump, the media, and Saturday Night Live, highlighting that the language being used to describe undocumented immigrants would be unacceptable if were directed toward any other group.
“These sentiments have been widely spread by the media without shame, embraced and cheered by leaders and communities around the US. The foundation of all this is so outrageous that it can easily be minimized as an SNL sketch, a mere entertainment, a joke,” he said. “But the words that have been expressed are not a joke. Words have real power; and similar words in the past have both created and triggered enormous suffering for millions of humans beings, especially throughout the last century.”
Even though Trump’s hateful comments target Latinos, Iñárritu said that immigrants all over the world will also be in danger if this behavior continues. “There is no human being who, as a result of desiring to build a better life, should be named or declared illegal, and be dispossessed or considered disposable,” he said. “I would rather propose to call these people Undocumented Dreamers, as were most of the people who founded this country. By naming them that, we can instead start a real and human conversation for a solution, with the most precious, forgotten, and distinguished emotion a human being can have: Compassion.”
Read the full transcript of his powerful speech here.