By Nelson Santana
Friday, January 12, 2018
In the latest debacle, President Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a group of bipartisan senators at the White House.
The comments were first reported by the Washington Post. As most rational people already know, the president has a clear affinity toward lighter-skinned immigrants from countries such as Norway. A White House official also noted the president is open to immigrants from Asian countries as he feels that Asian immigrants can help the United States economically.
In typical fashion, this morning Trump did an about-face completely denying the claims and asserting he did not make those derogatory comments. Via Twitter, he wrote:
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!”
Even when he challenges the words of others or when claiming he is not a racist, Trump nonetheless manages to put his foot in his mouth or sound just as racist. If the “Haiti is, obviously a very poor and troubled country” comment does not convince you, well, you are part of the problem.
Trump made it clear he dislikes Haitians. At the meeting, he asked: “Why do we need more Haitians?” and sources confirmed he said, “Take them out.” In November, the Trump administration revoked deportation protection for 60,000 Haitians, thus giving all Haitians affected by the 2010 earthquake the ultimatum of returning to Haiti by July 2019.
The administration also noted plans to terminate the provisional protection status that will affect close to 200,000 Salvadorans.
Trump’s hatred toward people of African descent is nothing new. In 1989, five Black teens were accused of rape in Central Park. Trump paid a full-page ad condemning the young men and calling for New York to reinstate the death penalty. Years later the five—now men—were exonerated after DNA evidence cleared them of the crime, yet Trump has remained firm on his narrative that the men are guilty.
The spokesperson who issued the statement after The Washington Post first reported on Trump’s remarks, is the child of Indian immigrants. White House spokesman Raj Shah’s parents immigrated to the United States from Mumbai, India. According to Shah: “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.”
Shah continued: “Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”
If Trump’s vision of a Black-free nation were to come to fruition, the United States would be set back many years and find itself in dire need of immigrants of color. People of African-descent and Black immigrants have contributed plenty to the United States and the world.
Black and Immigrant Contributions
Immigrants are an integral part of United States history and have made many contributions, even putting their lives on the line for someone else. Emmanuel Mensah, an immigrant soldier from Ghana—a country in the continent of Africa—lost his life while he rescued neighbors in a Bronx fire on December 28, 2017. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio noted the incident as the “worst fire tragedy” in the last 25 years.
Immigrants and African-descended individuals have and will continue to shape the course of United States history. Africans, Haitians, and all people of color will not let divisive words of hatred break our spirit!
Below, ESENDOM highlights some contributions made by African-descended people:
Marie Van Brittan Brown:
Born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, Marie Van Brittan Brown was a nurse and inventor who (along with her husband, Albert Brown) is credited for inventing the precursor to home monitoring TV security system.
Mark E. Dean:
Ever heard of the IBM personal computer? Computer scientist/engineer Mark E. Dean is credited for helping to develop several groundbreaking technologies including the color monitor, the Industry Standard Architecture bus (ISA bus), and the first gigahertz chip, among other innovations.
Junot Díaz is currently the most influential Dominican-descended thinker of this current generation. His accomplishments include the MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, and the John Sargent, among a multitude of recognitions. Díaz is the co-founder of VONA/Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation, the only multi-genre workshop for writers of color in the United States.
Charles Richard Drew:
Known as the “Father of the blood bank,” Charles Richard Drew was a renowned surgeon and pioneer in the preservation of life-saving blood plasma. Two of his major achievements include the discovery method for long-term storage of blood plasma and he is also credited for having organized the first major blood bank.
Azza Abel Hamid Faiad:
Teenage inventors are not the norm, yet Egyptian-born Azza Abel Hamid Faiad may have found a way to transform Egypt’s plastic waste and turn it into fuel. It is estimated that her discovery could lead to $78 million in profit.
Shirley Jackson was the first Black woman to graduate M.I.T with a PhD and the first to be named chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Her ingenuity led to the creation of the portable fax, touch-tone telephone, caller ID, call waiting, and fiber optic cables.
Thomas L. Jennings:
An abolitionist, Thomas L. Jennings was the first African American person to receive a patent in the United States. He invented a process known as dry-scouring and some sources credit him for starting the first dry cleaning business.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger:
An immigrant from Dutch Guiana (Suriname), Jan Ernst Matzeliger, was an innovative inventor. One of Matzeliger’s most recognized inventions was an automated shoemaking machine that allowed faster assembly of the soles to the upper shoe. Once refined, the machine allowed for the production of 150-700 shoes, as opposed to the previous 50 shoes per day.
Born in La Vega, Dominican Republic, Antonio Robinson holds the patent to numerous inventions, including air intake assembly for an internal combustion engine, vehicular exhaust pollution reducer, and many others.
Manley West and Albert Lockhart:
It is estimated that close to 76.6 million people will be diagnosed with glaucoma by 2010. Jamaicans Manley West and Albert Lockhart invented Canasol, an eye drop that helps to prevent blindness due to glaucoma.