What would I do if Trump calls my beloved country India “shithole?” Or, for that matter, Bangladesh or Pakistan — two other countries I dearly identify with?
Yesterday, at a dinner, Amy Goodman — famed journalist at Pacifica Radio and DemocracyNow! first told me that Trump said Africa, El Salvador and Haiti were “shithole countries.” Then, I saw it in Washington Post and NYTimes. At an immigration meeting with senators at the Oval Office, Trump asked why the United States would accept immigrants from “shithole countries,” rather than people from Norway.
Clearly, a racist, if not white supremacist, statement. Historic too!
I was greatly disturbed, and thought, well if that is the case, then it makes him the first officially recognized racist president in modern history. I posted a status update on Facebook, and then quickly deleted it because I didn’t want to make his supporters explode, and hurt me. I thought, I’d rather go low key: why irk these people?
Plus, I thought, isn’t it a provocation by elite media and their elite personalities who single out Trump’s hateful one-liners and Tweets, and sell bigger on knee jerk reactions, yet keep giving him passes on the more deadly economic, environmental, and war policies?
Sure, Trump’s shithole remark is obscene and racist (and now he denies it and his supporters defend it), but don’t the elite and the illiterate bigots alike use such words all the time, and that’s why the country is so hateful in the first place?
Are most Americans sane and civilized? What is your experience at workplace, at family gatherings, at bars, and at baseball games? Racism and bigotry can be seen everyday, everywhere.
What about the all-pervasive Islamophobia? What about the anti-immigrant hate? What about the nonstop police brutality on blacks? What about the union bashing and corporate giveaways? What about force-feeding extremely unhygienic and toxic food and drinks to the ordinary Americans? What about the nonstop war across the globe — on supremacist doctrines?
Elite, liberal media and their Oprahs and Maddows and Steinems will cash in on such prized, racist statements, but will otherwise actively support a war, violence, bigotry, and class-warfare-based system.
Trump and his hate and bigotry did not evolve in a vacuum.
At the same dinner meeting with Amy Goodman, we made acquaintance with a young guy named Jordan from Ohio. He told us a story from his life’s experience. In the suburb of a big city in Ohio, the town was expanding its games and sports facilities for the youth, but it wouldn’t include basketball in the expansion. At public meetings, some of the town executives and citizens would ask, “Why bring in basketball? Why bring in the thugs?”
The above story exemplifies the deeply-ingrained mindset of the average American people. It is this mindset that helped elect a racist man like Trump to be the president of the United States — a country that was built on the broken backs of immigrants and slaves. White supremacists have hate and disdain for the “others,” — i.e., people who are not white and of European, “Aryan” descent. The extremist types are KKK and such groups, and we know what they stand for. Many Trump supporters belong to them.
So, to answer the first question I began this article with: how would I feel if Trump calls my country of birth India, or Bangladesh or Pakistan — shithole countries?
I know how I would react. But I also how most other Indians would react.
A large majority today would react in one of these ways.
(1) India is no shithole, but Pakistan is. All those Islamic terrorists!
(2) Bangladesh is major shithole: it’s Muslim and f… poor.
(3) Africa is shithole. And so is Haiti. Salvador…we don’t care.
(4) Blacks are thugs. We Indians don’t like blacks.
(5) Trump is right.
People across India and across the world either participate in racist discussions, or stay silent when such hate happens. It’s my lifelong observation. I’ve seen similar mindset among many ordinary Americans too. Very few people challenge it. Very few.
And knowing India and America — the two countries I’ve lived in all my life, I know that’s the reason America has now elected Trump — a racist man — to be its president. I know that’s why India has now elected Modi to be its prime minister, a man who is a lifelong, indoctrinated member of RSS the Hindu supremacist organization — an organization whose follower Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi. Modi and some of his closest associates have been implicated in major anti-Muslim, anti-“low caste” violence and bloodshed.
And that’s why Trump and Modi are two closest allies in this global politics of hate.
Shithole, indeed, and it stinks!
Brooklyn, New York.