Why People Are Talking About Skittles on Twitter

September 19th 2016

Tricia Tongco

On Monday afternoon, "Skittles" began to trend on Twitter after Donald Trump Jr. posted the following tweet:

The response to his analogy using Skittles to represent potential terrorists and Syrian refugees quickly drew ire and criticism.

In addition to highlighting the absurdity and insensitivity of the meme, others pointed out the lack of mathematical accuracy in the problematic analogy.

In a 2015 statement asserting refugees are not a threat, The Migration Policy Institute offers some insight into the statistic cited in the meme: "The reality is this: The United States has resettled 784,000 refugees since September 11, 2001. In those 14 years, exactly three resettled refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities — and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible."

Some tweets highlighted an important fact left out of Trump Jr.'s statement:

The analogy is also not particularly new, as pointed out by one twitter user:

As Politifact has written, "The process [of vetting Syrian refugees] typically takes one to two years or longer and happens before a refuge ever steps onto American soil. Ultimately, says the State Department, about half are approved, and there’s no real precedent of a terrorist slipping in through the vetting system."

Trump Jr.'s tweet was sent at a time when a fragile partial cease-fire brokered by Russia and the United States seems to have broken down and fighting resumed. From the New York Times:

"A humanitarian aid convoy was attacked in Syria on Monday after the Syrian military declared that a seven-day partial cease-fire was over and immediately began intensive bombardments in rebel-held areas of Aleppo, the divided city that has come to symbolize the ravages of the war.

"The convoy attack, military declaration and bombings were the strongest signs yet of the gradual unraveling of a broader agreement between Russia and the United States aimed at restarting peace talks to end the conflict in Syria, which has killed an estimated 500,000 people and displaced millions."