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