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Trump’s repeated use of the Mexican rapist trope is as old (and as racist) as colonialism



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Donald Trump took time away from a tax reform meeting in West Virginia on Thursday to say, again, that Latin American men are a bunch of rapists, which is why we need stricter immigration laws in the United States. “And remember my opening remarks at Trump Tower,” he began, referring to his presidential campaign kickoff speech in June of 2015 when he said that Mexico is sending, “rapists” along with drug traffickers and drugs.

“When I opened. Everybody said, ‘Oh, he was so tough,’ and I used the word rape. And yesterday, it came out where this journey coming up,” he said referring to the annual Pueblo Sin Fronteras caravan for immigrant rights currently traveling from Central America through Mexico to the United States, “Women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don’t want to mention that. So we have to change our laws.” (On Friday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump was referring to the Central American women too often raped on the journey to the United States to seek asylum, which is one reason they formed the caravan in the first place.)

When it comes to rallying his voter base, the men-of-color-as-sexual-predator trope has to be the most failsafe tool Trump can invoke, since white men have been using this lie to scare white women and each other into submitting to racism for as long as race relations have existed.

White men have been using this lie to scare white women and each other into submitting to racism for as long as race relations have existed.

The myth of black and brown men as sexual predators towards white women is a deeply psychological motivator that activates people’s basest survival instincts, one that’s been around as long as white men have been colonizing places filled with darker-hued humans. And, it’s clearly been highly effective for getting voters to leave logic behind; It’s part of how Donald Trump won the White House.

The assertion that Mexico is sending rapists to the United States was a test run for how to generate attention in a crowded primary — say something racist and beyond the pale to make the liberals mad, which Steve Bannon’s even acknowledged — that got him more screen time than any of his Republican competitors and continues to gain him media coverage and excite his supporters.

It’s that excitement, that unseemly pleasure that men like Trump apparently take in asserting that we should all fear the sexual predation of non-white men, that makes it so easy for me to believe that the entire racist structure of colonialism is founded upon white men’s sexual insecurities. There is a perverse pleasure taken in making these warnings, in calling us savages, in generating and regenerating the myth that they are protecting “their” women (and thus their pale future) from the voracious sexual appetites of non-white men. They can feel their obsolescence encroaching; they always have.

It takes a rapist to believe that everyone else is intent on rape.

The vilification of men of color also serves as an indicator about some white men’s own malicious intentions: It takes a rapist to believe that everyone else is intent on rape. In the United States, from the colonial period to well into the 1960s, white men raped women of color with impunity even while setting up their white female counterparts as beholden to them for protection against men of color. Through this mind-bending logic, they managed to create a system there were virtually no legal consequences for a white man who raped a black or brown women, while black men could only ever be rapists to white women (and thus strung up at the nearest tree after any accusation, regardless of evidence).

And today we have a white, male president who has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by at least 15 women since the 1980s and who has admitted on a tape — which we have all heard — to being the type of man who gropes unsuspecting women’s genitals with impunity because of his status. This very president won the White House on a platform that accuses nameless, faceless Mexican boogeymen of traveling all the way to the United States, risking life and limb, to commit rape against American women.

And now he has accused them of committing so much more rape in their home country that the numbers are unseen before in human history, in an effort to deny asylum to, among others, the very women he accuses them of victimizing. His voter base laps up his baseless accusations against whole swaths of humanity while chanting “build a wall,” choosing to believe that immigrants of Latino descent are subhuman — the very savages their forefathers once swore they were — and unworthy of consideration as political refugees fleeing violence and extreme poverty.

Donald Trump doesn’t care about rape victims or potential rape victims, whether they’re white women or Central American migrants who have formed a caravan to escape that fate.

Yes, poor people in Mexico and Central America are vulnerable targets for crime, just like they are in the United States. Yes, women traveling alone and across a foreign country with few resources are at risk for being assaulted, sexually or otherwise, just like they are here.

Yet in fact, one international data crunching website says that rape is twice as prevalent in the United States than in Mexico. And we’ve seen ample proof in the past year that even privileged, white women and men in the United States are at risk of being raped or sexually assaulted because sex crimes are, sadly, all too common among human beings regardless of race or nationality and sexual predators come in every skin color.

Donald Trump doesn’t care about rape victims or potential rape victims, whether they’re white women or Central American migrants who have formed a caravan to escape that fate. He’s simply willing to twist the very real fear of a very real crime that doesn’t discriminate by race or country into a racist projection against immigrants that misinforms voters, further victimizes the disenfranchised and drives an even bigger wedge between cultures. And to do all of that for political gain is, quite frankly, the most inhuman thing of all.

Cindy Casares is the founding editor of and has contributed to The Guardian, The Texas Observer and She grew up on the border of Texas and Mexico and currently resides in Austin, Texas.

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China’s president Xi Jinping says the world must co-operate on climate change | World News



China’s president has said the world needs to work together to balance economic development and the destruction of the natural world.

It comes just a week after Xi Jinping promised China – the world’s worst polluter and an economic super power – would be carbon neutral by 2060.

In another landmark speech, he told the UN biodiversity summit: “At present there exists an acceleration of the global extinction of species.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is pictured in his pre-recorded UN address
It was the president’s second recent pre-recorded UN address

“The loss of biodiversity and degradation of the ecosystem pose a major risk to human survival and development.

“It falls to all of us to act together. We need to respect nature, follow its laws and protect it. We need to find a way for man and nature to live in harmony and balance and coordinate economic development and ecological protection.”

It came as a new study by the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in London collated the findings of 210 scientists from 42 countries.

They estimated forty per cent of plant species are at risk of extinction, hundreds of medicinal plants are threatened and only a tiny fraction of plants are being used for food and fuel.

Professor Phil Stevenson told Sky News: “The attention that is being drawn to biodiversity loss at high levels around the world I think is a really positive thing.

“This report will provide those decision makers, and also individuals at home, with new information and more information on making better decisions about conserving the diversity of plants and funghi.”

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It seems hard to re-imagine China as a champion of climate change and biodiversity given the environmental devastation caused by its break-neck speed of economic transformation. So has China really turned over a new leaf?

Isabel Hilton, CEO of China Dialogue, said: “On the analogy of the prodigal son, isn’t it better that China has got to the point of understanding how damaging its previous policies were, and is now exerting leadership in a number of ways.”

It’s easy to make promises but the world will be watching to see whether those with the power actually make a difference on biodiversity and climate change.

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US presidential debate: ‘A wild ride’ for Pennsylvania viewers | World News



Much of America stayed at home to watch the big debate.

“The home schooling’s keeping them in,” explained Mike McCloskey, owner of the Railroad Street Bar & Grill in Linfield, Pennsylvania. “Teaching kids in the morning is even harder after a hard night.”

First US presidential debate – highlights

It didn’t prevent a sprinkling of the politically-attuned gathering in this self-styled “upbeat hub for brews,” by the Norfolk Southern rail line that runs freight through their swing state.

In the United States, they say if you don’t win Pennsylvania, you don’t win the country.

After an hour and a half of watching the debate, the verdict in Linfield favoured Donald Trump, albeit not unanimously.

Colleen Dougherty said Mr Trump 'owned' the debate
Colleen Dougherty said Mr Trump ‘owned’ the debate
John Lappin said Mr Trump 'is a leader of our country. It really isn't much more difficult than that'
John Lappin said Mr Trump ‘is a leader of our country. It really isn’t much more difficult than that’

Colleen Dougherty told Sky News: “I think that Donald Trump owned this. I don’t think that Joe Biden really had anything to really bring to the table. I was really hoping that he would. And we didn’t really have anything.”

John Lappin saw Mr Trump as the victor. He said: “One came with a piece of paper in front of them that can only read from that. The other one is a leader of our country. It really isn’t much more difficult than that.

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Others didn’t declare a clear winner, but did see a loser – the voting public.

Meredith Warren said: “This is terrible, all around. This is very upsetting to watch, but this is the best representation for our country right now. I think they’re both little kids going back and forth to each other. They didn’t answer any questions.”

Meredith Warren called it 'terrible, all around' and 'very upsetting to watch'
Meredith Warren called it ‘terrible, all around’ and ‘very upsetting to watch’
Watching the presidential debate in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is seen by many as an election bellwether

Mr McCloskey added: “It was a wild ride, it went right, it went left. There was a lot going on, there was a lot of interruption.

“Right now, watching that, I would feel really bad for the American people. Because there was no order. It was all over the place. And I understand why people look at us as a laughing stock. I don’t believe anybody won that debate.”

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Democratic Republic of Congo: More than 50 women allege abuse by Ebola aid workers | UK News



More than 50 women have alleged that they have been sexually abused or exploited in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Ebola aid workers who said they were from some of the world’s top humanitarian organisations.

The allegations centre around the town of Beni, one of the epicentres of the country’s 10th and most deadly Ebola outbreak which started in 2018.

In an interview, 51 women recounted multiple incidents of abuse and claimed the men who exploited them identified themselves as being with the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières, World Vision, medical charity Alima and the UN’s migration agency, IOM.

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. File pic
The Ebola outbreak badly affected eastern areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. File pic

The allegations follow a joint investigation by The New Humanitarian and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The majority of women said they were plied with drinks, others ambushed in offices and hospitals, and some locked in rooms by men who promised jobs or threatened to fire them if they did not comply.

“So many women were affected by this,” said one 44-year-old woman, who explained that to get a job she had to have sex with a man who said he was a WHO worker.

She and the other women spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

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“I can’t think of someone who worked in the response who didn’t have to offer something,” she added.

Some women were cooks, cleaners and community outreach workers hired on short-term contracts, earning $50 to $100 (£40 to £80) a month – more than twice the normal wage.

At least two women said they became pregnant and others said the abuse occurred as recently as March.

The number and similarity of many of the accounts from women in the eastern city of Beni suggest the practice was widespread, with three organisations vowing to investigate the accusations.

UN secretary-general António Guterres called for the allegations to be “investigated fully”.

The WHO said it was investigating the allegations, affirming that it had a “zero tolerance policy with regard to sexual exploitation and abuse”.

“The actions allegedly perpetrated by individuals identifying themselves as working for WHO are unacceptable and will be robustly investigated,” it said in a statement.

“The betrayal of people in the communities we serve is reprehensible and we do not tolerate such behaviour in any of our staff, contractors or partners.

“Anyone identified as being involved will be held to account and face serious consequences, including immediate dismissal.”

Following the allegations against WHO, a Foreign Office spokesperson, said: “Sexual exploitation and abuse are completely abhorrent. We regularly assess all of our partners against the highest safeguarding standards and expect thorough investigations whenever allegations are made.

“The World Health Organisation has confirmed it is urgently investigating these allegations. We will scrutinise their findings closely.”

Spokespeople for IOM, MSF, UNICEF and DRC’s health ministry told both agencies in mid-September they did not know about the accusations before they were presented to them and several said they would need more information to take action.

Oxfam said it does “everything in our power to prevent misconduct and to investigate and act on allegations when they arise, including supporting survivors”.

Meanwhile, an Alima spokesperson said that after investigations earlier this year, two employees were dismissed for sexual harassment and that they had launched a new investigation after the recent reporting.

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