The World is Watching is an understatement because the whole world is watching America more closely than ever before. When it comes to words and actions, America has always been at the center of our global stage. During this climate of continuous racist, divisive and disrespectful tweets, comments and actions of President Trump, unfortunately, too many people believe the world’s focus is on the President, when in fact the world is watching to see how American citizens act and respond.
A very simple question has repeatedly been asked of Americans to which many have tried to spin, deflect and redirect. The simple question is…Do you believe that El Salvador, Haiti, and Africa (which is a continent) are “shithole countries?”
It’s a “yes” or “no” question! The world is watching how those in Congress answer this question. The world is wondering why others in leadership positions are not speaking out. History will ask why religious leaders and the church community did not respond. The audacity of Americans, especially those in Congress and other leadership positions, to try to answer in any other way than a direct NO is not only insulting and inflammatory but brings to light the more serious concerns.
Time and time again we have all witnessed the ignorant tweets, quotes, and comments being made by this President, even from the White House, with support from elected officials and staff whose salaries are paid by the citizens being insulted. From “Mexicans are rapists,” to “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” to the infamous “Grab her by the p****,” to calling NFL players protesting injustice “Sons of bitches,” to “All Haitians have AIDS,” to “African immigrants should go back to their huts.”
As we dawn the anniversary of celebrating the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I would like to remind Americans of two quotes from Dr. King, (1) Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity, and (2) The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
The world is watching and each time Americans who espouse themselves to be well- educated, consider themselves of good character and believe themselves to be religious or faith conscientious choose to spin, deflect or redirect on such grave issues, they undermine each of these characteristics and send a resounding message of what America (we the people) represent and stand for.
Moving beyond the direct racism and related undertones of racism that will ultimately materialize through policy, Americans should be further appalled at the vulgarity of speech and the condoning of violence by our leadership. Growing up, like many of you, I was often reminded that I represent more than just myself. There simply should never be a time when Americans find it acceptable for the President of the United States of America, Congress or any other leader of our country to reference another country as a “shithole.” The world is watching; and I would remind us all that what you display and demonstrate as acceptable is setting the tone for every other American, especially the youth of our nation.
The damage being done internal to our country and external of our borders is astounding and everyone who tries to spin, defend or deflect the ignorance and racism should consider the words of Benjamin Franklin, Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
Far too long America has portrayed black and brown people as unintelligent, unable to learn, less than human, animals, living in despair and squalor and the countries from which they come as desolate, barren, heathen and undeveloped. Are you aware that 43% of African immigrants have college degrees and 25% of Nigerian Americans hold graduate degrees? Have you seen the City of San Miguel in El Salvador or traveled to Cameroon or Mozambique in Africa? Have you researched the inventions that you use every day that were developed by people of color?
All Americans have lineage to countries outside the United States. If you revisit history, your family ancestry probably includes immigrants and countries that were once the object of such vile disrespect. As you reflect on that, also take a moment to stop and ask yourself, Do I truly believe that El Salvador, Haiti, and Africa (which is a continent) are “shitholes” countries? If you are unable to directly answer an unequivocal NO, then you should do more research. More importantly, if your answer is an unequivocal NO, then you should let your outrage be known and your voice heard that this continued misrepresentation, fictitious and divisive actions must cease. Call your U.S. Senator and Congressional Representative and unequivocally let them know that you expect them to stand up, challenge these disparaging comments, speak truth to power and loudly speak out against this ignorance!
Thomas W. Dortch, Jr.
Chairman of the Board