by Henry Oliner
Trump’s comment about “shit-hole” countries is offensive, but it is not racist. Comparing Haiti to Norway is irrelevant, but it is not racist. Shelby Steele’s piece in today’s (1/13/18) Wall Street Journal gives a perspective on the mix of freedom and racism:
When you don’t know how to go forward, you never just sit there; you go backward into what you know, into what is familiar and comfortable and, most of all, exonerating. You rebuild in your own mind the oppression that is fading from the world. And you feel this abstract, fabricated oppression as if it were your personal truth, the truth around which your character is formed. Watching the antics of Black Lives Matter is like watching people literally aspiring to black victimization, longing for it as for a consummation.
There is racism, but it is not the belief in biological inferiority that gave us slavery and eugenics. It may be a rejection of culture and identity, or just an expression of political differences. There are the country club liberals who practice the bigotry of condescension and low expectations, and there are the virtue signalers who preach against racism for recognition, but offer very little in the way of effective solutions.
The problem with making everything about race is that it obscures greater issues. In the case of immigration should immigrants from shit-hole countries be welcomed? I contend that they should. Some of those from the worst countries have the greatest appreciation for the miracles we take for granted.
The sign on the Statue of Liberty does not ask for your Nobel Prize winners, your valedictorians and your Mensa members. The state of Georgia was a penal colony. So was Australia. In Israel the Ethiopians, airlifted in Operation Solomon, became stellar Israelis. What made the United States, Australia and Israel the successful nations they became was not an immigration meritocracy, but the development of a system where those from the worst conditions in the world could rise so far above it that they created the greatest nations on earth.
Trump is wrong, but not because he is racist.