There are 54 countries on the continent of Africa with a population estimated at 1,273,131, 890. There are 11,051,616 residents of Haiti There are a total of 546,000 living in the United States. These 1,283,729,506 people, close to 20 percent of the world population, a group 4 times the population of the United States, cannot be dismissed with a single word.
Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?
Trump’s implication that people from countries Haiti and Africa and are undesirable while people from Norway are somehow deserving of immigration opportunities has the outrage machine working overtime, and rightfully so. The President labels millions of people and dozens of countries with a single crass vulgarity, and once again, his comments clearly reinforce the same line of white supremacy he has drawn in the sand over and over.
It goes without saying, though Trump’s comments beg us to say it again: Africa is a continent, huge and varied with every kind of climate, people of every color and faith. Haiti is a country that has made significant contributions to the world, including being the first country in the Western hemisphere to free itself from colonial rule (hmm, maybe that’s why he hates them…).
What I’m not going to do is write a 1000 word defense of the countries he maligned. Trump’s game of distraction and deflection sends us down the rabbit hole of racism every time he throws red meat to his base. Haiti and Africa today, Mexico last year, some other country of black and brown people next month. Instead, let’s question his underlying assumption–your country of origin determines your merit.
While different countries political and economic context certainly opens or closes opportunities and resources off for many, the humans in those countries are no less intelligent, capable or motivated to succeed. When Trump maligns a whole people and when we line up to defend the countries he disrespects, we are debating whether a whole population, for good or bad, is deserving of opportunity. Both sides of the argument are wrong: your country of birth does not determine your intelligence, your humanity, your potential or your ambition.
No country on earth is made up of only good deserving smart people–even Norway. There are killers and con men even in the greatest countries (side-eye, Don the con). There are actual geniuses and super-rich people even in the most resource-strapped country. When Trump’s comments are demonstrably not fact-based, we know we’re in coded-language territory. Trump’s latest comments are no more than just another racist do whistle in a long song of dog whistles he has been playing since he began his campaign. And me? I’m not running when he calls.