Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. This shouldn’t be difficult.

Refugees are not Skittles. Plain and simple.

Comparing human beings to candy robs people of their God-given dignity. Plain and simple.

Posted by America Magazine on Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"Skittles are candy. Refugees are people.” A spokesperson for Skittles understands the basics. Comparing refugees to poisoned Skittles is immediately abhorrent, and totally misses the point.


Why? Because the analogy violates the human dignity of the refugees.

Again, Skittles are candy. Refugees are people.

The issue here is human dignity. The comparison should—and does—grate on us because it violates the dignity of refugees.

At the level of objects, the logic of the comparison holds. If a few objects in a certain group can harm you, perhaps you should avoid the entire group. If we stay at the level of simply analyzing risks, then the logic of the Skittles analogy is sound, with respect to objects. But the analogy breaks down when applied to human beings, because the risk they may pose is not the most important fact about them. For human beings, our duties toward them often outweigh risks.

The only way the analogy to Skittles even seems to work is by deliberately ignoring what is most important. Attention to human dignity is crucial, a fact that  Catholic moral teaching insists on over and over again. Once we recognize the someone’s dignity (note someone not something) it changes the calculations. People have inherent dignity. People are not objects, and therefore you can’t simply figure out how risky they are and stop there.

Human beings cannot be fully characterized by numbers, ratios or risk assessments. The more than 65 million refugees in the world and nearly 5 million from Syria have dreams, desires, fears and needs. These are people displaced from their homes—lands that hold precious memories. These are people who need and deserve love. These are people made in the image of God. These are people who have the right to be recognized as human, not dismissed with a superficial analogy to a piece of candy, designed to excuse our own fear as prudence.

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William Rydberg
2 years 7 months ago
Looks like America is moving towards "election mode". It's not like this in Canada. Should be an interesting few weeks...
Gerard H
2 years 7 months ago
The argument against the skittles analogy falls flat. Jesus referred to groups of people as "wheat" and "chaff" goats and sheep, He referred to men as "whitened sepulchers" all clean on the outside but filled with dead mens' bones. And He didn't just warn people about the chaff. He said he was going to toss it into the fire. I'm sure numerous other analogies can be found in the word of God. And while we're at it, Wasn't Hillary Clinton describing whole sections of humanity as "Deplorable" and "Irredeemable" and she wants to put them into "baskets"? Maybe she really means box cars. Ps. Jesus described his message to unbelievers as "pearls before swine."
John Hess
2 years 7 months ago
The whole skittles analogy is false. When one grabs a handful of candy from a dish, you unthinkingly just put them in your mouth. Refugees and immigrants, on the other hand, go through an individual vetting process. Therefore, any arguments or conclusions based on the "skittles bowl analogy" is likewise false. The thoughtless or the easily influenced may, however, allow themselves to be deceived.
Gerard H
2 years 6 months ago
The Skittles analogy is apt. Just as the condom 1% failure rate is apt when compared to sitting on a plane where one person out of every 100 will be thrown out of the plane in mid air. Would you get on that plane? There is more care and vetting that goes into "quality control" concerning Skittles than there is in a Refugee Crisis. Drop the quality control and if Skittles gain a reputation for having glass beads in them, you aren't going to be unthinkingly putting them in your mouth. You're going to stop buying them and if you are offered them, you are going to think twice and test each one out. Burn me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me. And if someone hands you candy that they stole, (Ie. illegal immigrants ) it's immoral to accept them.


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