Your Country Of Origin Does Not Determine Your Humanity (Look At Us)

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?

–Donald Trump

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…).

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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.

 

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Anders Breivik, neo-nazi terrorist killed 9 people in a bombing then went on to shoot 69 people in an armed attack on a children’s summer camp in Norway. 

 

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.

 

When White People Should Say N–

Once and for all I want to settle the controversy of White people using the n-word.  There actually is a rule and it’s very, very simple:

Never.

NEVER.

Say it with me….white people should never say N*gga, n*gger, or any permutation of the word.

No, Bill, I mean you too:

This woman running for local office who called police about “N– outside drinking Hennessy?  Heeeeelllllllllllllllllllll no, no matter what Eddie Murphy said.

How about stars who act like they’re cool with Black people? Nope.

But, wait, what about if you’re a teacher and you’re just trying to teach the youth about the N word with your old ass ideas saying the word over and over until you get checked? That’s on you, teach.

What if you have really good intentions, and you’re woke as fuck and you care about black people like you really love them and deeply care about black empowerment and you are committed to supporting black people in the struggle for justice?  Like you dedicate your life to ending racism and you work hard every day to make the world more just and every once in a while in love and solidarity you want to refer to your black friends as my n–?

Trick question–if you’re really woke af, you know white people shouldn’t say the n-word.

So no matter what you’ve heard, no matter how extensive you think your hood pass is, no matter how noble your intentions or how great your cultural knowledge, if you are white the rule stands.

Never.

 

Problem People Stories

When we look at the way that people of color are represented in the media, we often see what is referred to as ‘problem people stories”–stories that position people of color as the cause of society’s–and their own–problems.  What does this look like, Guliani, on this week’s Meet the Press is textbook:

Two fun facts: first,  most homicide is perpetrated within race–black people are most likely to kill black people and white people are most like to kill white people, and second, the unrest in Ferguson is because a white Police Officer did the killing.  no amount of focus on black on black crime would have prevented that.

Every life matters, and every killer should be held accountable.  When the killer is retained by the state to act as an authority, they deserve to be held at a higher level of accountability.

Oh, and I have an open seat in class for you, Guliani:  you clearly need to be schooled.