This is not a s***hole, Mr. President, this is home

Amaeka Effiong, Editor in Chief

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With the recent backlash President Trump has received after his alleged comments about predominantly black countries, I felt it necessary to share my opinion, being a person from one of those countries.

It all began when NBC and several other reliable news networks reported that during an immigration meeting, Donald Trump referred to African countries and Haiti as “s***hole countries.”

According to the New York Times, a similar remark was made by Trump in December of 2017 when he disparaged several nations at a meeting concerning the number of visas given to immigrants. Six officials that were present at the meeting claimed that Trump described the 15,000 Haitian people who have received visas as all having AIDS. He also allegedly called Afghanistan a terrorist haven and said that after Nigerian immigrants come to America, they will not want to return to their huts.

Those remarks were offensive to me personally, though I was not surprised that they came from Trump. As a person who has lived in Nigeria and spent time in countries all over Africa, I would like to state that my experiences compared to Trump’s descriptions are, seemingly, of two completely different worlds.

First of all, I was not brought to the U.S. as a baby by immigrant parents. I only returned to North America in 2015 after living in multiple African countries on and off for about eight years.

Although I was born in the United States, I identify as a Nigerian because that is where my parents are from.

When I was just a few months old, after being born in Silver Spring, Maryland, my family moved to Abuja, Nigeria where we lived quite comfortably for about four years before moving to Virginia.

During my time in Nigeria, I attended a private American International school as stated. There, I took a French class as a preschooler, enjoyed state of the art facilities, participated in exciting field trips and interacted with other students from all over the world. My closest friend, as a matter of fact, happened to be from Korea.

There is no doubt that the schools that I attended were different from the typical American school, but they were just as efficient. Though poverty is still alive and well in many African countries, not everyone is poor, not everyone lives in huts and not everyone has AIDS.

Similarly, though there is poverty in the United States, not everyone in the country is poor. Trump’s comments were blatantly stereotypical and certainly not backed by facts.

Regarding the “hut” comment, my home was far from that. I lived in an expansive house that was gated and attached to a lovely garden. And no, my home was not the only non-hut either. Most of my peers, relatives and teachers at the time lived in similar homes, and this was not only restricted to Nigeria. I also lived in Kenya and Ghana for a combined total of over four years where our homes were beautiful and far nicer than some that I have lived in within the US.

Now, about the “s***hole” comment.

There are problems in the African countries that I have been to, but that can be said about every single country in the world. However, these countries also have wonderful people, landscapes, cultures, foods, clothing and much more.

Trump’s comments, I’m assuming, were mainly in comparison to the United States of America, which is a very beautiful country. However, there are parts of the U.S. that look pretty awful in comparison to some cities in various African countries. I would also guess these places do not look like Mar-a-Lago, the place that has sculpted Trump’s perception of quality.

The truth is, most African countries are much more developed and thriving than many people on the outside want to believe. There are malls, grocery stores, movie theatres, waterparks, ice skating rinks, restaurants with international cuisines and virtually any other form of commercial activity one can find in the United States.

Shameless racists should not even be able to have a platform to use the words that he used to describe a continent and people that he knows next to nothing about. We’ve seen the catastrophic results of power falling into the hands of ignorant bigots before and should be wise and courageous enough not to let that happen again.