President Trump’s yesterday remarks about how Haiti and African nations are “shitholes” triggered a wide variety of responses from prominent figures in the media, in politics, and in American society at large.
For the vast majority of people, their reactions were of revulsion and repugnance over the President’s obviously offensive remarks. For some on the right, however, it was a chance for them to make a mad grasp for relevancy by leaning in and defending Trump’s remarks with the ingenious “but they are shitholes!” defense.
Tomi Lahren, the right-wing’s favorite new grievance-monger, immediately took to Twitter to defend the President with the usual petulant spite that apparently passes for “sass” among conservatives.
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If they aren’t shithole countries, why don’t their citizens stay there? Let’s be honest. Call it like it is.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) January 12, 2018
In the most basic definition of the word, referring to any country as a “shithole” is enormously offensive.
It’s a term loaded with the condescension of the imperialist and heaped with the unearned privilege of a Westerner who enjoys their enormous luxury and comfort by exploiting the labor and resources of the rest of the global south, too ignorant or too cruel to acknowledge the direct role their nation and their awful politics plays in perpetuating inequality and suffering throughout the global south.
When used in reference to African nations, the term is loaded with the additional sneering superiority of racism.
We could spend all day trying to explain to the upstart propagandist about how the concentration of wealth in the elites of western nations and the constant cultivation of instability in non-Western nations by the United States and other major world powers drives people to seek the safety and opportunity enjoyed by the undeserving Tomi Lahren in the United States.
Or we could just applaud as the Washington Post’s Africa bureau chief lands a simply incredible dunk on Lahren.
Hey Tomi, Washington Post shithole bureau chief here. Love your foreign affairs reporting. Did you know there are 8.7 million Americans living overseas? Can’t imagine why they would leave home. https://t.co/Vazd6Ts3Pe
— Kevin Sieff (@ksieff) January 12, 2018