On MSNBC, Midwin Charles defends the dignity of Haitians after Trump's racist "shithole" comment
Charles: "A lot of people come to this country because their countries have been destabilized by American foreign policy, OK? In 1915, America occupied Haiti."
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From the January 12 edition of MSNBC Live:
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STEPHANIE RUHLE (HOST): Midwin, your parents came from Haiti. I had the chance to go to Haiti a few years ago, and the resiliency that people from Haiti have, they don't need President Trump's approval. What they have to go through every day to survive, the natural and political disasters they face are stunning. How will Haitians take this?
MIDWIN CHARLES (ATTORNEY): Well, I can tell you that the blowback has been incredibly crazy. I think that most Haitians are not surprised. And yes you are correct, both my parents are from Haiti. I am first-generation American, and when my parents came here, they did so, like most immigrants, looking for a better life. And they've done an extraordinary job in raising two daughters who contribute to American society. And I think that's what's being lost here, is this idea that immigrants come to this country and they do not contribute to this country.
Let me just give you a little snapshot about what Haiti is. In 1804, Haiti became the first free black republic in the world, OK? They kicked out the French and decided that they were going to have liberty and they were going to govern themselves. And as a result, they became a beacon for other Latin American countries and the like for liberty and for democracy. And so starting with that and culminating to today, which happens to be the eight-year anniversary of an earthquake that decimated a country; over 300,000 people lost their lives. So this idea that a group of people come from a country that is a "shithole," and I'm going to say the word because it is the word that the president of these United States has used, is outrageous, it's degrading.
And I will tell you this about Haitian people. You are not going to meet a group of people who are more resilient, who are more educated, who have more dignity, who are more hard-working, who have more respect, and who want to do nothing more than to contribute to this country and to this world. And, again, let me also make a point here, that Donald Trump makes a point about he doesn't want people coming from certain countries. I would beseech him to go out and read a book, get off the golf course, visit Haiti, visit Africa, and read that book and understand how history works. A lot of people come to this country because their countries have been destabilized by American foreign policy, OK? In 1915, America occupied Haiti, all right? So I think it's incredibly important that the president of the United States understands the history of what it is that he's talking about.