If you’re Somali, you may want to think twice about moving to Lewiston, Maine. Apparently Mayor Robert Macdonald has issues with the Somali culture and feels they should leave their culture at the door.

Earlier this month about  50 protesters rallied outside City Hall before delivering 1,400 petitions to Macdonald’s office, asking for his resignation. In an interview with British Broadcasting Corporation he said  immigrants should “accept our culture and leave your culture at the door.”

This comment didn’t sit well with the 6,000 Somali refugees living in Lewiston. Nimo Yonis, 26, said the mayor’s comments were painful and hurtful and “represent hate”, she said. “Basically, he’s telling us to forget who we were,” Yonis said. “Just leaving your culture at the door is leaving what you believe, what you stand for and who you are at the door.” In response to the criticism, Mayor Macdonald claimed his remarks were of course taken out of context. What he meant to say was that Somalis should try to acclimate to American culture.  As if that sounds any better.

This incident isn’t Macdonald’s first time sticking his American foot into his mouth. He wrote in a local weekly newspaper that “submissive Somali women turn into obnoxious customers at the grocery store cash register.” He also wrote that he was tired of news stories about Somalis being treated poorly; most complaints, he wrote, came from “boo-hoo white do-gooders and their carpetbagger friends.” He later told a reporter that immigrants shouldn’t “insert your culture, which obviously isn’t working, into ours, which does.”

How about that for post-racial.

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  • Its one thing to request that people become acclimated/familiar to “american culture” but to tell them that they should completely forget everything that makes them who they are is just ridiculous.

  • LS

    What this mayor said was racist. Why are people cosigning him?!?!?! o_O” All his comments reeks of White Supremacy.

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    @ Lady Ngo:

    I couldn’t agree more! I think the problem with many non-black/non-white immigrants that immigrate to Europe or to the U.S. is that BACK IN THEIR HOME countries they are racially categorized as white. Being “white” in India, Iran, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, etc. is NOT THE SAME as being “white” in Europe and America. Or at least American whites will not categorize an immigrant as white. Many decades ago, Irish and Italians were not categorized as “white”. Even Germans weren’t considered “white” by those of Anglo-Saxon descent. After WWII, that changed quickly though………

    I remember reading about Idi Amin’s Uganda. I read that when the British ruled Uganda, many Indians migrated there and started to treat the black Ugandans as second-class citizens in their own country! How rude! I don’t think black Africans can go to India and treat Indians like garbage in their homeland (but the British sure did!).

    Immigrants should learn to adopt some of the host country’s customs, culture, etc. Dare I say even integrate. But to make someone completely assimilate and forget everything about their homeland is not only impossible but ridiculous. A good case of this is when you read about non-English speaking immigrants who come to the U.S. and have been in the U.S. for decades and still can’t speak English!!!!

    I have so many examples from my class, I can make a documentary of it: another Indian girl came to the U.S. when she was a child along with her family and grandparents. They have been here for well over 15 years, but the grandmother can’t speak English only Hindi! Try going to India for 1 year and not speak at least 5-10 dialects of Hindi! You will not survive!

    And I have to draw a line with the blatant racism that is outwardly shown by Arabs, Indians, Asians, etc when it comes to black people! Like hello, whites can’t stand you either, they just tolerate you a little bit better than blacks, that’s until the next terrorist attack or if you start taking away their jobs (China and India, I am looking at you!)

    SMH yet again!

  • Samira

    I find it so sad that many African American readers here are agreeing with him? He’d be the same person to comment about segregation in the 50’s so don’t think he’s on your side people! He’s just a xenophobe!

  • ann

    thanks this