December 10, 2019

No Country is a ‘Shithole’: Trump’s Comments Perpetuate Racist Stereotypes

posted on: Thursday January 18, 2018

 

by Laura Arango ’20

Opinion Staff

Last week, White House officials held a closed-door meeting in which they discussed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deal and a bipartisan immigration proposal that would meet the needs and wants of both the Republican and Democratic parties. What could have been a productive meeting unfortunately turned into another opportunity for President Donald Trump to evidently demonstrate his bigotry.

By using phrases such as “shithole countries” when speaking in regards to Central American and African nations, make it clear that our president believes that the key to “Making America Great Again” is making America predominently white.Trump and his advisors also questioned why there are not more people from Norway coming to the United States.

Trump has denied making such controversial statements in spite of the Democratic and Republican senators who have come forward confirming his comments. However, it is not a question in my mind—he did make those comments. He has and will continue to proprogate more and more division in our nation if we allow it. Central American, South American, and African nations deserve the same amount of respect as European countries and the United States of America.

The negative rhetoric that Donald Trump has consistently spewed only serves to reinforce negative stereotypes that people consider to be true about developing countries.

Over winter break, I traveled to Colombia, a country that in Donald Trump’s eyes, would be considered a “shithole.” And what I saw was a country flourishing in tourism—thousands of North Americans and Europeans were traveling across Colombia and enjoying the warmth of the people and the loveliness of the terrain.

When I spoke to many U.S. tourists they were clearly shocked that Colombia functioned the way that it did. They believed they would be traveling to a country where crime was tolerated and drugs were commonplace.

And that was because the U.S. is filled with negative stereotypes about Latinos reinforced by a president that reiterates that Latinos in the U.S. are only there illegally, as criminals and intending to steal jobs from American people.

These types of conversations are not limited to Colombia. They occur in every country Donald Trump considers a “shithole.”

Haiti, a primarily black nation and one of Donald Trump’s targeted countries holds “a growing number of U.S. firms . . . including commercial banks, airlines, oil, and agribusiness companies, and U.S.-owned assembly plants. Opportunities for U.S. businesses in Haiti include light manufacturing, in particular textile and clothing production; the development and trade of raw and processed agricultural products; medical supplies and equipment; etc,” according to state.gov.

The relationship between Haiti and the United States, historically, has been a positive and mutually beneficial one. Yet, our leader chooses to ignore the facts and instead feed the public with dividing and harmful rhetoric.

There are no “shithole” countries in the world. Every country’s customs, culture, land, and language are beautiful and special. We must all remember that the words of one man do not define a universal truth. Those that are from Norway should be more than welcome in the United States, but those from Africa should be as well.

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