The African Studies Association—a scholarly organization composed of over 2,000 university academics based in the United States, Europe and Africa – is outraged at President Trump’s characterization of African states as “shithole countries.” He is widely reported to have made this comment in conversation with members of Congress. It is shocking that such crude racist expressions of xenophobia are now part and parcel of executive office discourse. Not only do President Trump’s words disparage the people of an entire continent, on issues of immigration they defy reality. According to the last U.S. Census Bureau report, Africans account for only 4% of the total foreign-born population in the United States, but the educational attainment of that 4% far exceeds the average of all of those born outside of the U.S. Indeed, 41% of African residents in the U.S. hold bachelors degrees or higher. Nigerians, who have been singled out by the President on previous occasions, are among the most educated group in the U.S., with some 61% holding bachelors degrees and 17% masters degrees. We strongly encourage those in and around the Oval Office to do their homework and urge them and all levels of government to acknowledge the enormous contributions that African immigrants have made to the economic and social fabric of the United States.
* Consistent with the mission of the Africana Studies Department, this information is provided as a public service to inform and facilitate evidence-based critical inquiry about the experiences of Africa-descended peoples.