Saturday, January 13, 2018

Don't Let that Shithole Distract You from What's Happening to Medicaid

About the shithole heard round the world... Here's what Twitter and some of the rest of the world has had to say about it.

The critiques:

Can't quite put my finger on why the president would call Haiti and African countries "shitholes" but want more immigrants from Norway...hmmmm...
Nathalie Baptiste

"Shithole countries" is especially notable because the administration's public justification for removing Temporary Protected Status [from Haitians and Salvadorans] is basically that the countries have ceased to be so bad.
Daniel Dale

In any school, college, business firm, or civic organization, an employee who talked like Donald Trump regularly does would be fired.
Langdon Winner

The president's fixation about women's bodily fluids, his freakout over Ebola, his claim that Haitians "all have AIDS," his expressions of STD-phobia to Howard Stern, his hatred of handshakes, his food hangups and well-done steaks — we see the thread here, yes? Trump has called himself a "clean-hands freak" and says handshaking is "one of the curses of American society." The man has an immense disgust impulse and is terrified of communicable diseases.
Josh Barro
My ancestors did not come from shithole countries. They were neither tired nor poor. They were forcibly brought here to live in a shithole created for them.
Kimberly Atkins

A shithole is a nation that institutionalizes white supremacy and then blames those who aren't white for the barriers they face trying to live under a racist system.
(This tweet wasn't the only one to point out that what makes a country a shithole may better describe the U.S. than our sister countries. Chet Powell told a powerful story of a 1930 lynching and the present-day reaction to it in a Georgia county clerk's office, for instance.)
When a group of Italian immigrants were lynched in Louisiana in 1891, President Teddy Roosevelt called the lynching “rather a good thing” and a NYTimes editorial described the victims as “sneaking and cowardly Sicilians.” Those who demonize “others” forget their ancestors were demonized too.
Sally Kohn

The root of the problem is public outrage and private acceptance of racism.
freda bryson

Worth noting that today is Alexander Hamilton’s Birthday — you know, the immigrant kid who came from the shithole of Nevis to create the USA
John Avlon
Then (and almost immediately), there were the critiques of the critiques:
FFS the controversy is not that Trump used profanity. It's that he hates non-white immigrants and structures policy around that hatred.
Sarah Kendzior

"I can't BELIEVE Trump said something that someone in my peer group or family has thought or expressed every single day of my life." –White Proverb
Crystal Fleming @alwaystheself
I don't know what's worse: The white hypocrites who call Trump "racist" without acknowledging their complicity, or the white hypocrites who refuse to call Trump racist at all. What you all still don't want to admit is that Trump broke white folks' "gentlemen's agreement" (also known as "political correctness") to publicly disavow the racist views they privately express and actually act upon on a daily basis.
Crystal Fleming @alwaystheself

If you have the impulse to post stories about amazing people from Haiti or other "shitholes," stop. Everyone — even racists — knows people like that exist. There are amazing people from every group. Equality isn't making room for the exceptional, it's embracing the average. Stories of exceptions don't help equality. We are a country that believes in exceptionalism — that we are fundamentally better than other people in the world. We need reminders that people are people, and just like us, everywhere.
N. K. Jemisin

Please stop asking the 81% of White US Churchianity members to denounce the President's remarks. They agree with everything 45 said, and will quibble with you over lexis and syntax so that you'll get nothing else done today.
Ebony Elizabeth @Ebonyteach

You're upset about 24 hours. You need to be upset about 400 years. That's the point.
Crystal Fleming @alwaystheself

Now if only this incident would get the news to offer the tiniest bit of useful coverage of Africa as a normal place where normal people live, that would be something. Who am I kidding though.
Lyman Stone

Nothing Trump says is more shocking than what the white supremacists who founded this country have actually done, or what they continue to do in their various positions of power on a daily basis. I just wish folks understood that the white supremacist fantasies Trump regularly expresses accurately reflect the common beliefs and existential anxieties of millions of ordinary people. He is not an outlier, so stop pretending that he is.
Crystal Fleming @alwaystheself

lots of people joking about the shithole thing. 190k+ U.S. citizen children are at risk of having their parents deported on the basis of the president's animus toward Salvadorans. This is no joke.
Power to Puerto Rico
There were reminders that Haiti is in the condition it is for reasons:
The reason why White nationalists like 45 always name Haiti because the Haitian nation and people are unique. Haiti defeated Napoleon, threw off the chains of slavery, and exposed the lie of White supremacy and European imperialism. So there’s no end to their hatred for Haiti.
Ebony Elizabeth @Ebonyteach

Trump called Haiti, the first Black Republic in the world, the first country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery, a country consistently targeted by violent, anti-democratic US policy ever since, a shithole. Reagan backed the brutal dictator(s) Duvalier in Haiti, Bush/CIA ran death squads and facilitated the overthrow of democratically-elected president, Clinton destabilized Haiti further and put Haitians in horrid conditions in Guantanamo. The US government has been the shithole.
jeremy scahill

In order to do a victory lap around the GDP difference between, say, Norway and Haiti, you have to know nothing about the history of the world. That includes, especially, knowing nothing real about the history of the United States… You’d have to not know that the French colony that became Haiti provided the wealth that fueled the French Empire — and 2/3 of the sugar and 3/4 of the coffee that Europe consumed… (with the full series of tweets here)
Jonathan M. Katz

If you are looking for something to read or share with students about the centrality of Haiti in global history, here's my piece from @aeonmag making the case.
Laurent Dubois @Soccerpolitics
And some education about our country's racist history of immigration generally:
This is the underlying issue of Trump and much of the GOP’s “merit-based” immigration policy. Now that European immigration has slowed and it is Black, Brown + Asian folks coming here, these folks want new immigrants to be measured by different standards than their ancestors were
Brittany Packnett‏ @MsPackyetti

Immigration policy in the USA has *always* been racist b/c it's part of the same white supremacist system. USA is majority white because of quotas that limited immigration from Asia, Africa and southern Europe in order to create a "white nation."
Bree Newsome

Shared from a friend on Facebook: "'Chain' immigration laws, more commonly known as family reunification, were passed in 1965 at the insistence of conservatives because they wanted to make sure there would be more immigration from Europe, thus continuing the past practice of restricting immigration from Asia. Of course, the opposite has happened and now White people are freaking out as our country becomes majority minority."
Pat Thompson‏ @pattho
Tomi Lahren (whom I will never link to) said something not just historically clueless but completely illogical ("If they aren’t shithole countries, why don’t their citizens stay there? Let’s be honest. Call it like it is.") and there were some great replies:
So which shithole country did your grandparent come from? It must have been a real shithole because... you're here now.
Bree Newsome

Why do you live/work in California/NYC instead of your native South Dakota?
andrew kaczynski @KFILE

Hey Tomi, Washington Post shithole bureau chief here. Love your foreign affairs reporting. Did you know there are 8.7 million Americans living overseas? Can’t imagine why they would leave home.
Kevin Sieff

Right?! The same way your great great-grandfather should have stayed in his country, but instead he FAKED his documents. (With link.)
Nicholas A. Ferroni
Outside of Twitter, a friend sent me this:
It bugs me that many responses to Trump’s shithole remark are to say what good people come from Haiti and Africa and how much they have contributed to America instead of responding by attacking the remark itself and Trump himself for saying it.  It’s as if Trump said “nigger” and then everybody talked about all the really worthy black people they know.  Like, defending them.  Isn’t this response odd?  Does it bug you, too, and if so, exactly why?
 I responded:
Yes, it bugs me [much too weak a word] for that same reason… and there are a lot of people (at least on Twitter) who have been pointing that out. It’s the reduction of the concept of racism to only very specific acts (like using the n word, or as someone said yesterday, spray painting it inside the Oval Office) rather than a structural concept of oppression, built on white supremacy. Like how T and others say they aren't “a” racist… when all of their actions point to the fact that they hold racism deep in their hearts and show it in their actions (and sometimes their words).

The other annoying part of this current discussion is that if he had said something other than “shithole” that meant the same thing generally, it wouldn’t have been a problem. If he had said the exact same sentiment (as he had earlier about all Haitians having AIDS and Nigerians and their huts), it might have been noticed but not at all the same way it is because of the use of a vulgarity. The policy that underlies the point of view gets way less notice.
And she said:
The other thing that occurs to me now is that to list examples of good people from Haiti and Africa is somehow acknowledging that the “disagreement” is about truth — is what Trump said true or not, or even “well, even though these places are shitholes there’s still lots of good things about them” — instead of how foul and damaging his whole worldview is. Plus, of course, Trump lacks any concept of truth, so there’s no point in telling him that something he says isn’t true.
And then there's Star Tribune cartoonist Steve Sack's pithy take on it:

(I love how Sack makes Trump look like a fish, and at the same time, makes each of his eyes look like a fish.)

Meanwhile, the Republicans are setting up to gut Medicaid, including work requirements and even literacy tests (though that's only in Kentucky so far). How will those work requirements fit with people over 65 who receive Medicaid to supplement Medicare or for nursing home support? A recent study found that 87% of people covered by the Medicaid expansion are already working, in school, or seeking work, and the 75% of those who aren't are taking care of someone else, either children or disabled/elderly relatives. So they're working, just not working for pay. How will literacy tests work for people with Alzheimers, not to mention people who just can't read, or read English?


Gina said...

What a great post! I especially like Sack's cartoon and your friend who brought up people defending the countries 45 was attacking. To me, 45 is just deflecting again, i.e. he hasn't made America great again, he knows that the rest of the world has lost respect for us, and he's struggling and frustrated and needs to deflect the attention away from the condition America is truly in. I've seen a lot of people asking why any self-respecting Norwegian (or anyone else) would want to come here now considering what a shithole America has become in the last year. Are you planning to read "Fire and Fury"? I don't usually read political books, but I'm tempted to read that one.

Daughter Number Three said...

I don't plan to read the book, at least not currently. Too much else to read!