Yesterday, Thursday, January 11, it was reported that president Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “shithole countries.”
Now, like everything else in American politics these days, we will never really get to the bottom of this. People will take sides based on their political biases and prejudices and will debate this for a few days until the next scandal presents itself. And so this rant is not about Trump or the about immigration, but about something that is important but never really discussed: the effects of slavery on Africa.
Everyone knows the story of slavery with regards to the African American experience and their American story, but not many people stop to think about what slavery did to Africa and how that impacted it for the many decades and centuries that would follow.
Slavery took all the able-bodied men and women and left behind the sick, the old, and the young. This crippled many communities, tribes, and kingdoms. You take away the farmers, hunters, warriors, mothers, and so on for 300 years, and you leave behind civilizations struggling to fill that void and sustain their political, economic and social structures. And in so doing, leaving them defenseless and vulnerable to imperialism and colonization; the sequel to slavery that would not only exploit its people but its natural resources, even to this day. Talk about kicking a person when they are down.
Long story short, no objective person that understands the roles Europe and the United States played in its history will deny how and why Africa is what it is today And in understanding these facts, no objective person would call Africa a ‘shithole.’
Africa has come a long way, and I won’t deny the fact that SOME parts still have a longer way to go—oppressive regimes, unrest, power hungry warlords etc. But we should also not forget that a lot of African countries are democratically young compared to the United States, a country that, 250 years later, is still figuring this democracy thing out as well (voters rights, redistricting, voter suppression, LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter, women’s rights etc), and that’s okay.
In summary, its unfortunate that Africa and Haiti were called shitholes—they are not. And even if those words were not said by President Trump yesterday, its undeniable that they are what a lot of people think Africa and Haiti are, and what shapes their perceptions of immigrants from there. But a simple Google search will show you what immigrants have given to the new places they call home. And a simple Google search will show you what the new Africa and Haiti is: not perfect, not shitholes, but developing, growing, and beautiful.
Sincerely, Kwapi Vengesayi
Kwapi Vengesayi is an Amazon bestselling author. To discover and explore his work, you can find his books on Amazon: Click Here or on the Book images below.