January 11, 2018

Shitholes

The black African diaspora experience can be best described as an endless pursuit of dignity. From Europe, to the West Indies, to the America, our narrative has been centered around the quest to prove our worth as human beings.

You already know our painful stories. The slave trade. The discrimination. The disenfranchisement. Residency restrictions. Crime. Poverty rate. It goes on. It plays out in media and in our culture. And just about everything in between — a wide gulf that is further beyond what I care to write about at the moment.

We’ve probably made comments before about other countries and/or regions being “shitholes”, regardless of your political persuasion. It might have been in jest; it might have been as a legitimate critique. But for most of us that have made that disparaging remark, I don’t think we necessarily did a wholesale rejection of the residents of that country as human beings with dignity. At the end of the day, I hope, we recognize that human beings are human beings.

Africa and Haiti have their problems. It’s well documented. Both the continent and the country, respectively, have endured social, economic, and political strife. But the people that live there are still human beings. I don’t think any less of anyone because of where they are from. That’s just human decency.

Which is why I have a major issue with the incumbent’s “shithole” comment.

It is within his free speech to call other countries a “shithole”. However, there’s a difference between making a crude and disrespectful observation and being an overt racist. When the incumbent mentions that immigrants from these areas are undesirable compared to ones from Norway, then the truth is exposed: there’s a racist undertone to it.

There’s plenty coming to his defense for his comments. Just watch Tucker Carlson and Jesse Watters on Fox News, among others. Ann Coulter said that comments like this is an attempt by the incumbent to “win her back”. But there’s nothing to defend. This is textbook racism.

Why? Because when a man builds his political career appealing to the passive racist and the explicit racist, it becomes very obvious that this is a part of who he is and a reflection of his actual personal attitudes. And sure, he’s had previous professional and political relationships with blacks in public. However, the reality is that he only cares about black and brown people that are useful to his agenda, his ego, or both.

If you want to defend his speech in the sense that it is well within his right to say it — fine. I agree with you. He has the right to say what he says and hold the attitudes that he has. But his racism is a disqualifying quality.

I will never, ever support him nor ever forgive those that voted for him.