EDI­TO­RIAL

The pres­i­dent’s vul­gar slaps at na­tions of color also hit the core of Hous­ton.

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - OUTLOOK -

The pres­i­dent’s vul­gar slap at na­tions of color also hit the core of Hous­ton.

With apolo­gies in ad­vance to our read­ers of­fended by crude lan­guage — our pres­i­dent’s lan­guage — we hereby raise a Sun­day morn­ing toast to “shit­hole city.” To our city. To Hous­ton, the most di­verse city in Amer­ica.

This thriv­ing, en­er­getic, suc­cess­ful me­trop­o­lis is com­prised of all those black, brown, beige and cop­per-toned peo­ple from those “shit­hole coun­tries” that so might­ily of­fend Don­ald Trump’s del­i­cate sen­si­bil­i­ties.

Those Haitians, Mex­i­cans, Sal­vado­rans, Hon­durans, Mid­dle Eastern­ers, Nige­ri­ans — who­ever hap­pens to be on Trump’s most re­cent sh--list — are Hous­ton. They are us.

More than a quar­ter of the 4 mil­lion peo­ple who proudly call this sprawl­ing coastal me­trop­o­lis home were born in some for­eign na­tion. Many orig­i­nally hailed from places that Trump dis­dains.

He bet­ter get used to it. As Rice Univer­sity so­ci­ol­o­gist Stephen Klineberg is fond of say­ing, “All of Amer­ica will look like Hous­ton in 25 years.” This means a place with no racial ma­jor­ity. About 40 per­cent of Har­ris County res­i­dents are His­panic; 30 per­cent are An­glo; 20 per­cent are black; and around 10 per­cent are Asian.

At cur­rent de­mo­graphic rates, the rest of the na­tion will soon re­flect a sim­i­lar di­ver­sity. From his decades-old record of big­otry, we can only con­clude that’s what fright­ens the dis­turbed — and dis­turb­ing — man in the White House.

The pres­i­dent’s racist com­ments not only are deeply of­fen­sive to most Amer­i­cans but they also threaten to un­der­mine the in­ter­na­tional lines of trade, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and cul­ture that en­rich this city, this na­tion. This pres­i­dent, a man with white na­tion­al­ist in­cli­na­tions — it’s hard to be­lieve we have to de­scribe a pres­i­dent that way — seems ded­i­cated to sti­fling trade at Port Hous­ton and its coun­ter­parts around the coun­try by with­draw­ing from free-trade treaties. He and his minions are ea­ger to de­port and di­vide hard­work­ing Sal­vado­rans who are mak­ing pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions to this com­mu­nity, to this coun­try. And his lat­est po­lit­i­cal bar­gain­ing chip? It’s the fu­ture of Dream­ers, young peo­ple who also are con­tribut­ing to this com­mu­nity, this coun­try.

Per­haps it’s the darker hue of our city or a place like Puerto Rico that has led to Trump un­der­fund­ing post-hur­ri­cane re­con­struc­tion ef­forts here and in Puerto Rico. The first ma­jor re­cov­ery bill pro­posed by the White House was in­sult­ingly bare — a “night­mare for those who are try­ing to re­build their lives,” ac­cord­ing to U.S. Rep. John Cul­ber­son, a Repub­li­can.

His im­mi­gra­tion agenda — aided and abet­ted by the odi­ous young ad­viser, Stephen Miller — seems sin­gu­larly fo­cused on the goal of main­tain­ing white supremacy in the United States. Haitian im­mi­grants all have AIDS. Nige­ri­ans live in huts. That’s what Trump thinks, ac­cord­ing to a me­dia re­port. Of course, that doesn’t stop him from hir­ing low-wage Haitian im­mi­grants for his Florida golf club. Nor does it stop Nige­rian im­mi­grants from boast­ing the high­est lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion in Hous­ton and across the na­tion, sur­pass­ing whites and Asians.

We are build­ing a world-class city here, one that wel­comes any­one from any­where who wants to par­tic­i­pate in our ven­ture. If we con­tinue to be suc­cess­ful, maybe even Trump’s ideal im­mi­grants, Nor­we­gians, might want to join us. We al­ready have a Sis­ter City in Sta­vanger, the oil cap­i­tal of Scan­di­navia. At the mo­ment, of course, Nor­way is rated the hap­pi­est coun­try in the world, its health care, pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and rates of in­come in­equal­ity are among the top 10. For most Nor­we­gians, we as­sume, emi­gra­tion is not a high pri­or­ity.

Mean­while, Hous­to­ni­ans work­ing to make this com­mu­nity an even bet­ter place to live and work have a duty to re­sist a Trumpian im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy that aims to purge hun­dreds of thou­sands of our neigh­bors, co-work­ers and friends. Un­til this na­tional night­mare is over, we have an obli­ga­tion to reach out and nur­ture con­nec­tions to the rest of the world, whether they’re busi­ness, sci­en­tific, cul­tural or fa­mil­ial con­nec­tions. Those open arms, those open minds, are Hous­ton. We choose to be­lieve, de­spite what’s hap­pen­ing in D.C., they are Amer­ica, as well.

Hous­to­ni­ans work­ing to make this com­mu­nity an even bet­ter place to live and work have a duty to re­sist a Trumpian im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy that aims to purge hun­dreds of thou­sands of our neigh­bors, co-work­ers and friends.

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