The backlash from President Trump’s recent slew of racist remarks continues to burn with increasing intensity.
This morning, the 55 members of the African Union issued an unequivocal condemnation of Donald Trump’s use of the word “shithole” to describe their countries.
Every single nation in Africa joined together in expressing their disgust at our openly racist President, stating that the President’s remarks “dishonor the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity”.
“While expressing our shock, dismay, and outrage, the African Union strongly believes that there is a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current Administration.”
After decades of a condescending American media barely sparing a second of attention for the African continent beyond charity advertisements portraying starving children and MSNBC segments featuring walruslike ex-Department of Defense officials gruffly explaining why we need to increase our military presence on the continent – whose pronouncements are accepted at face value, because he was in the military! – it’s no surprise that President FOX News Grandpa has no conception of Africa beyond the stereotype of a war-torn, disease-ridden hellhole.
There is never any discussion of how decades of CIA-backed coups, reckless weapons proliferation and the concentrated efforts by the United States and the former colonial powers to replace every organic socialist government with a murderous right-wing military junta played a large role in creating the perpetual instability that plagues certain regions of Africa.
Never any discussion of how Western financial institutions drove African nations into debt and now leech them dry, consigning them to usurial servitude.
There is never any discussion of the millions of Africans who live in peace in prosperity; of burgeoning economies and peaceful transitions of power; no discussion of the trials and tribulations that the nations of Africa have overcome in the past forty decades.
President Trump’s racist remarks are deplorable and disgusting. The conception of Africa as a “shithole” is just as much a part of ingrained white supremacy as it is to toss off casual stereotypes about how blacks in America are all on welfare – like Trump was revealed to have done later that day – or to shrug and look the other way when a cop guns down yet another unarmed African-American.
But it’s not enough for liberals to condemn President Trump’s remarks as racist. How many of us automatically think of death, starvation, and war when we think of Africa? How many of us ask why we think that, and even bother to question whether if that conception is rooted in reality?
Once we start to reassess the way we think about other nations and acknowledging the role that our nation has played in making them the way they are, then can we really begin to overcome the racism and stereotypes that our society has hardwritten into our minds.