Category: Opinion

The U.S. Is Crazy to Scare Skilled Immigrants Away

Welcoming foreign talent is a win-win policy.

By Noah Smith


President Donald Trump has done a lot to scare high-skilled immigrants away from the U.S. He has made it harder for them to get green cards. He has blocked some foreign students from entering and discouraged others from working during school. He is considering banning the spouses of H-1b visa holders from working in the country at all. The harassment campaign appears to be working. H-1b applications are down, as is the number of visas being issued to overseas students:

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The Trip I Hope All African-Americans Can Take

By Mercedes Bent

At a naming ceremony in the home of my host family in Lagos, Nigeria, I wore brightly colored traditional clothing — a long, rectangular skirt tied tightly around my waist and an off-the-shoulder top withshort, flared cuffs, all in a pink ankara pattern with a matching head wrap.

“Please stand,” said my host, who had graciously offered to tailor the ceremony — which is normally performed for babies — for me, her adult visitor from the United States.

“I hereby give you the name Esosa; it means ‘God’s gift.’ You are now Esosa Oloke. Welcome to the family. You will always have a family here in Nigeria.”

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From Obama to Omar, East Africa is having an impact in US politics

By Mohammed Guleid
East Africa is beginning to have an impact and shine in the politics of the United States.
The rise of East African influence in America started with Barack Obama, who has ancestral roots in Kenya. He became the President of the United States.

Once again, someone from Eastern Africa is causing a storm in America. Early this year, Ilhan Omar, a young woman from Minnesota was elected to the US Congress.

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Recognizing differences can foster understanding

This week, TWESE, The Organization for African Students and Friends of Africa, in Rutgers university, is hosting a meeting entitled “Who Am I.”

A few days ago, my friend, a member of the TWESE e-board, posed the question: “What do you feel is the difference between people who were born and raised in our countries, people like us, and Black Americans?”

By Yvonne Olayemi


It is not news that Rutgers is divided into numerous sub-sects of social and ethnic groups. We are comprised of a student body from all over the world.

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On the rise of political tribalism in America

By Harold Acemah

The concept, “political tribalism” may come as a surprise to many Ugandans who are familiar with ethnic tribalism. I came across the terminology while reading an interesting book by Yale University Law professor Amy Chua titled, Political Tribes – Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations.

What is political tribalism?
Political tribalism played a major role in Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential elections of USA, a country which is at a dangerous crossroads. According to Chua, for the first time in USA history, “White Americans” are faced with the prospect of becoming a minority in their “own country”. The truth is that White Americans are migrants from Europe and don’t own America.

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Morocco: A New Star In Africa

Could any Arab, African and Muslim-majority country become a developed country without vast natural resources? There is at least one country that is trying hard to achieve this goal.
By Veeramalla Anjaiah


Morocco, a rising star in Africa, is like a European country where all of its trains, trams, buses, flights and ferries run on time. Morocco, apparently, has many mysteries. Few people realize that it has been rapidly emerging as a new powerhouse in Africa.

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Ethiopia: Africa’s next powerhouse?

By Witney Schneidman, Brookings Institution

Ethiopia’s prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed—the youngest African leader at 42 years old—has initiated a series of unprecedented economic and political reforms in his first 12 months in office.

The core challenge that he faces is moving the economy from state-led to market-based growth while overseeing far-reaching political reforms. Success is far from guaranteed but his accomplishments so far have created an enormous sense of opportunity within the country.

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The U.S and Canada need immigration

By Don Thompson

I didn’t immigrate to Canada to escape murderous gangs, an oppressive government or religious persecution. I chose to come here…freely. I am not a person of colour, a woman, a member of the LGBTQ community. I had no children with an ache for a better life. I am, in fact, a member of the most privileged group in the world…an educated white man of means…from the United States.

That said, I have a deep and abiding empathy for refugees and immigrants who come to Canada and the United States…two countries I call home…for a better life.

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Americans taught African churches that being gay is a sin, they listened

The United Methodist Church, like the Anglican, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, proselytized Africans and taught them Christianity. For hundreds of years, these Christians taught them that women were not equal, that slavery was permitted and that being gay was a sin. Today in Africa, even as women’s rights are being expanded, members of the LGBTQ community face harsh treatment.

Here in the United States, all these churches, except one, have stopped teaching that slavery is permitted by the Bible, that women are inferior to men and that being gay is a sin.

That one is the United Methodist Church, which recently refused to remove language from its discipline that being LGBTQ is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” It has stopped denying women equal rights, and has stopped claiming that slavery is permitted.

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The U.S. could end up paying dearly for Trump’s disregard for Africa

By Mark Porubcansky
As if we needed Michael Cohen’s testimony for confirmation, it has been evident for a long time that President Trump neither knows nor cares much about Africa. That could end up costing African countries and the United States dearly.

By way of explaining why he considers Trump a racist, Cohen told the House Oversight Committee last Wednesday that the president once asked him whether he “could name a country run by a black person that isn’t a ‘shithole.’” Recall that Trump also applied the “shithole” label to African and Central American countries last January. Also recall that an ill-informed presidential tweet about its land policy last year angered South Africa, and that Trump once made Africans cringe by misidentifying the country of Namibia.

Also recall that an ill-informed presidential tweet about its land policy last year angered South Africa, and that Trump once made Africans cringe by misidentifying the country of Namibia.

Continue reading “The U.S. could end up paying dearly for Trump’s disregard for Africa”

Trevor Noah’s inside joke at the Oscars was more than just a laughing matter

By Chrizelda Kekana
Over the past week someone said, “Trevor Noah went on one of the biggest stages in America and told an inside joke only South Africans would immediately understand.

In case you missed it, what had happened was:

Trevor took to the Oscar’s stage to present Black Panther as one of the Best Picture nominees and dropped one of the most legendary jokes he’s ever shared.

“Growing up as a young boy in Wakanda, I would see T’Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase. He says ‘abelungu abayazi ndiyaxoka’ – which means, ‘In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart’,” Trevor said to loud applause from Hollywood’s crème de la crème.

Meanwhile, here at home, we were rolling on the ground with laughter because what Trevor’s isiXhosa quote actually translated to was ‘White people don’t know I’m lying’.

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America needs to vote more like Senegal

By Serena Piervincenzi,

There are so many things that I miss about Senegal. I miss waking up every morning to the sounds of goats, I miss being called by my Senegalese name, Ayisha,  I miss my adopted family, but more than anything, and perhaps most surprisingly, I miss the political attitude of Senegal as a country.

Senegal is a small country in West Africa, neighboring Mali and Gambia. They gained their independence from France, peacefully, on April 4, 1960. Since then, Senegal has remained one of the most successful, West- African countries. They function as a democracy, not unlike ours and, like us, some of their most important accomplishments have been spearheaded by their youth.

Prior to Senegal’s February 2012 presidential election, Abdoulaye Wade announced his plan to run for a constitutionally questionable third term. This did not sit well with many Senegalese people who believed that instating a third term for Wade would bring them closer to the kind of authoritarian rule that the current Senegalese constitution prohibits. Wade’s candidacy led to protests, organized and attended primarily by youth.

Several of these protests led to deadly encounters between protesters and police.

After losing the election to the opposition candidate Macky Sall, Wade quickly accepted defeat, and Senegal had yet another peaceful transfer of power. Continue reading “America needs to vote more like Senegal”

UC Berkeley needs to support African language programs

By Martha Saavedra and Leonardo Arriola

Every semester, UC Berkeley offers many new courses. The Amharic language course offered this spring is especially noteworthy. Except for a brief pilot program in 2006, this is the first semester students are able to take a course in Amharic, one of the languages of Ethiopia, which is spoken by nearly 26 million people worldwide. The course, which only opened for enrollment the week before the spring semester, was nearly full by the end of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, just before classes started.

Clearly, there was a pent-up demand for this language. Student motivations include plans for research, study, travel and work, as well as deepening cultural and familial connections. Amharic stands out as a new course at UC Berkeley with many motivated students.

Students studying African languages at UC Berkeley — currently, Arabic, Amharic, Chichewa and Swahili — are poised to participate in one of the most significant global developments unfolding in the 21st century: the increasing importance of Africa demographically, economically, socially and culturally.

Africa currently constitutes about 17 percent of the world’s population. It is the youngest continent in the world, and the youth population is only increasing. Significantly, this means that the world’s working age population will be largely African. Economically, overall growth rates on the continent are relatively high, with the International Monetary Fund reporting 3.76 percent real GDP growth. Ethiopia’s rate is an extraordinary 8.49 percent.

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Philadelphia’s many African students need culturally inclusive education 

By Aminata Sy

Immigrants are a force in Philadelphia, but their educational needs are neglected. As of 2016, Philadelphia’s immigrant population had increased by 69 percent since 2000, accounting for more than 232,000 residents.

by 69 percent since 2000, accounting for more than 232,000 residents.

An estimated 1 in 4 children in the city immigrated themselves or were born to immigrants, and Philadelphia’s labor force has about 1 in 5 immigrants.

Africans make up the fastest-growing segment of this immigrant population, yet belong to a marginalized group.

In the School District of Philadelphia, immigrants and native-born students of African backgrounds rarely see themselves reflected in curricula. What message does this absence of their people, their histories, their cultures send to children? “You don’t belong — Philadelphia isn’t your city, America isn’t your country.”

Students of African immigrant backgrounds endure bullying for being African, “too black,” or speaking English with an accent.

Historically in America, Africans have been viewed through a stereotypical lens of wildlife and backwardness. These perceptions persist and continue to hurt Philadelphia children.

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