Official Statement January 28, 2018 We Can No Longer Be Silent: Psychological Damage by President Trump
"There comes a time when silence is betrayal. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Association of Black Psychologists, Inc. can no longer be silent. As professional and licensed psychologists and mental health practitioners, we are deeply troubled by the recent statements of President Donald Trump in reference to Haiti, African countries, and El Salvador. It has been widely reported that he has referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and nations in Africa as "shithole countries."(1) Earlier, in response to a document listing how many immigrants had received visas to enter the United States in 2017, it was reported that the President complained that more than 2,500 were from Afghanistan, a terrorist haven; Haiti had sent 15,000 people and they "all have AIDS"(2); and that forty thousand had come from Nigeria, to which Mr. Trump added, "Once they have seen the United States, they would never go back to their huts in Africa."2 It should also be noted that the DNA for literally every Black American, now and in the past, are traceable to Africa and the West Indies, especially Haiti.(3) Not only do these statements denigrate the humanity of the citizens of these countries, they are psychological assaults to our sense of wholeness and wellbeing.
This President fans hatred and division with tweets and statements that can be summarized as:
* Africa: an array of shithole countries,124;
* Nigerians: live in huts and want to live in America;
* Haitians: all have AIDS(5):
* Puerto Ricans: lazy;
* African Americans: ingrates;
* Mexicans: criminals and rapists(4);
* Muslims: evil terrorists;
* Women: treat them like shit and grab them by the pussy;
* White supremacists, Alt-right, the Wealthy, and Nazis: very fine people.
Intentional or not, these comments represent psychic terrorism(6), which is "the systematic use of terror to immobilize and/or destabilize a person's fundamental sense of security and safety by assaulting his or her consciousness and identity."
We are deeply disturbed by these statements and recognize their significance in diminishing the sense of human value for African Americans, as well as African people worldwide. They dangerously set the stage for acts of violence directed toward these populations, just as Hitler's denigration of the Jews in Germany contributed to the...