If I may recall, the controversy is about President Trump’s recent comment, where he reportedly referred to African nations and Haiti as “shithole countries” during a bipartisan meeting on immigration. He had questioned why the United States needs “more Haitians” and suggested instead that the country take in more immigrants from places like Norway. Mr. Trump’s comments have since received unparalleled stretch of condemnation all over the world.
Amidst an avalanche of editorial commentaries extensively scrutinizing these verbal excesses, I had stumbled into some analysts dialoguing in sheer controversy on the meaning of racism and who or who is not racist. My first thought was, being a Black in America – and worse, having originated from one of Trump’s “shithole countries,” do I really need the dictionary, or any reference book to define racism?” Of course not, because at this stage in my career and at my age, I do understand “racism”, and likewise, I can identify a racist even without my reading glasses.
But America should not just be worried about Trump’s racial verbosity and actions. In fact, the population should be more concerned about his belief that he is not a racist. Here is what he told reporters at the Trump International Golf course following reports of his “shithole” comments: “I am not a racist. I’m the least racist person you will ever interview.” Now, this is where we should be concerned, because this man apparently does not know that he is a racist.
This is the same Trump, whose real-estate company refused to rent apartments to African-Americans in the 1970s; gave preferential treatment to Whites, and faced a federal lawsuit which was eventually settled. And we must also have heard that Trump treated his black employees at his casinos differently from Whites, and once criticized a black accountant saying: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks.”
This was the same Trump who led a hateful campaign that the nation’s first Black President was not born in the United States but in Kenya. Till date, Trump is yet to apologize for this blunder, but has continued to exhibit his utter detestation of his predecessor, simply because of his skin color.
I am really not going to waste my editorial space rehearsing the horrific chronology of President Trump’s exhibition of his discriminatory eccentricity, but it would be fair to mention that this man began his 2016 presidential campaign with a speech disparaging Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists.” As President, Mr. Trump called for total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. He further ordered a refusal to readmit Muslim-American citizens who were outside of the country at the time.
We could go all day reciting some unspeakable racist actions of President Trump who claims he is not a racist. Yet, he was quick to refer a federal judge hearing a case about the Trump University as “prejudiced” because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. As if this was not enough – and very recently Trump said 15,000 recent immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS” and that 40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.
With hundreds of President Trump’s racist overtures yet to be added to this list, how could anyone, in his or her right sense argue that he is not a racist? As if his declarative support for White Supremacists and his depiction of minorities as nonsensically ungrateful were not enough, Trump has frequently condemned prominent African-Americans as unpatriotic, ungrateful and disrespectful; and called Puerto Ricans who criticized his poor response to Hurricane Maria “politically motivated ingrates.” What nonsense!
I would conclude by revisiting that same question about whether Trump is or is not a racist. Yes, President Trump is a dishonest racist and harmfully xenophobic too. Here is a painstaking bigoted vandal who wangled into the White House as President, with a long history of every attribute associated with racism. As President Trump himself once said, “When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, be tough.” Ironically, Trump, an imprudent hypocrite who is currently married to an immigrant with an accent as heavy as mine remains America’s biggest leadership challenge. Thus he must, in his own words, be confronted with ‘tough’ and ‘brutal’ attitude to curtail his extraordinary narrow-minded and racist comportments.