It has been a week since reports came out that Donald Trump referred to immigrants of Haiti and African countries as being from “shithole” countries.
And like many of the things Trump has said, there was a very calculated playbook utilized to deal with the comments. We have seen it time and time again from him, and it goes as follows:
- First, deny the comment was ever made.
- Second, find another story that takes away some attention (Stormy Daniels).
- Finally, somewhat admit to the offense at hand (“I’m the least racist person”), while actually never admitting to it at all.
It’s ironic that this is the case, only because Trump and those who were with him at the meeting when he made those comments or ones with “very strong language” have stressed that Trump was talking about Merit-based citizenship versus based on country quotas. Yet and still, Trump’s conceptualization of merit-based immigration is only inclusive of individuals that are coming from a White/European country, Norway.
Trump’s comments have been condemned by many Democrats and just overall decent human beings. There has also been an outpouring of people, both from those shithole countries and elsewhere, wanting to explain to Trump – and the many who think like him – that these countries exist beyond his poor definition of them, and actually produce some of the finest people and culture that this country has to offer.
My parents happen to meet the qualifications of Trump’s commentary by being two of the many immigrants from a country described as a shithole. While I am fully aware that Ghana isn’t the dark and decrepit place that Trump assumes it is, I believe that the want and the need to prove that is exactly how racism truly functions in our society, and since hearing Trump’s comments about black and brown immigrants I’ve had these words by Toni Morrison stuck in my head:
“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.” – Toni Morrison, Portland State, 1975.
Forty years later and Morrison is still correct, there is always one more thing.
Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to protest racial injustice was met with so much pushback. People questioned why he even bothered, then those ‘why’s’ turned into ‘what’s next’, which was answered with complete integrity on his behalf. But what happened? Of course, taking a play out of Trump’s aforementioned playbook, people turned the issue of racial injustice into disrespect of the military in order to change the course of the conversation and deflect from the original presenting issue.
Tomorrow, I’ll be announcing the final $100,000 to complete my Million Dollar Pledge. I’m excited to share this last round of donations with all of you. You can see all 31 donations I’ve made so far on https://t.co/DkVikwsc2E #MillionDollarPledge #10for10 pic.twitter.com/w47VUBZDSQ
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) January 16, 2018
As of this week, Colin Kaepernick completed his goal of giving $1 million of his own money to charities across the country that align with his fight against the inequitable structure of our society. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has golfed and tweeted his way through his first full year in office as the Commander-in-Chief of the United States.
This is how racism functions, and how racism works: Kaepernick is fighting to get a job in a sports league because he stood up for the plight of black people, while Donald Trump simply cannot seem to lose his while doing everything possible to uphold the systematic structure of white supremacy.