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Flashback: ‘Clueless’ Tackles Refugee Debate

“May I please remind you that it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty,” Cher Horowitz stated during in-class debate

Twenty-two years ago, Cher Horowitz, the posh teenager at the center of the film Clueless, gave an excellent metaphor in support of letting refugees into America. Her quotes from the classroom-set scene became popular with the protesters opposing Trump’s executive order that bans refugees and citizens of seven Muslim countries.

During an in-class debate, Mr. Hall (played by Wallace Shawn) poses a question to Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and her classmate Amber (Elisa Donovan). “Should all oppressed people be allowed refuge in America?” he asks of his students, noting that Cher would take the pro position. In her affected Beverly Hills accent, Cher notes that the Haitian people — which she mispronounces — need to take refuge in America during the period in which the film is set. She goes into an example of a garden party she had hosted for her father’s birthday and how she was “totally buggin'” when people showed up at the sit-down dinner without having submitted a R.S.V.P. Even though the situation had been stressful for the hostess, she was happy with the added guests and reworked the party to accommodate them, which is the advice she gives to the United States government.

“May I please remind you that it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty,” she concludes to applause from her classmates.

The quote became heavily circulated following Trump’s executive order and some protestors at various protests across the country in response to the order held up signs with the quote on it. 

In This Article: Donald Trump, Muslim Americans

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