Your Clique Ain’t Like Mine: Mayor Says Local Somalis Need To Leave Culture “At The Door”

October 6, 2012  |

Perhaps one thing the mayor of Lewiston, Maine has yet to learn is to keep his personal feelings at the door.

Somali immigrants and their supports are asking for an apology and a letter of resignation from Lewiston mayor Robert MacDonald after an interview he did with British Broadcasting Corp saying that Somalis in the town and neighboring towns should “accept our culture and leave yours at the door.”  On Thursday, protesters set up shop outside of City Hall in a rally to show their outrage. They also came armed with over 1,400 petitions to support their argument for Mayor MacDonald’s resignation.

Mayor MacDonald made a slight attempt to clarify his comments by saying that all he meant was that immigrants should try to assimilate into American culture. Further, he said his comments were taken out of context and he’d never make derogatory statements about Somalis.

Unfortunately, Lewiston’s Somali community has been the subject of many inflammatory comments over the last 10 years.  Former mayor Larry Raymond wrote a letter in 2002 stating that the Somali population in 2002 was growing too fast and made a plea to Somali leaders that they discourage their friends and family from moving there because the city’s resources have been “maxed out.”

This also isn’t the first time Mayor MacDonald has come under fire with his comments.  In a local newspaper, he once wrote that “submissive Somali women turn into obnoxious customers at the grocery store cash register.”  He also told a reporter at a later time that immigrants shouldn’t “insert your culture, which obviously isn’t working, into ours, which does.”

I know, it’s Maine, so we shouldn’t be surprised.  This is a state where 94 percent White – Lewiston is actually 86 percent White – and so maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the political leaders there feel this way. But to openly make comments like that? Something is totally wrong with this picture.

Have you ever or do you currently live in a town where you feel that you have to “keep your culture in check?”


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  • Shirl

    Don’t respond to trolls. I read the comments on this site because I enjoy intelligent debate. You’ll have some one show up every now and again and attack the beauty of the black woman..just ignore it and they will sashay on over to Bossip or TMZ

  • Candacey Doris

    Unfortunately, we can’t blame just white people. While this was a particularly ignorant man, there are so many others that are not white that are just as ignorant, all over America. I remember walking down the road a few ears back in queens stalking with my aunt and some rude (black) man told us we should learn english. Mind you, we were speaking english, just with an accent he obviously could not understand.

  • Kells

    Somalis and Ethiopians are beautiful. Black american women and especially black women from the Caribbean are ugly. Look too much like their west african ancestors.

    • Pivyque

      Wow. Just…wow…smh.

    • mq

      You have no right to make such a statement. its ppl like you that try spread hate amongst us black women. This is coming from an east african sister.

      • Miss Anonymous

        Yes, All of us sisters of African descent (America, the Caribbean and Africa) Are Beautiful.

    • get real

      Somalis and Ethiopians are beautiful.
      Absolutely. Especially Ethiopians. I used to work with some women from Ethiopians and one of the girls looked like Janet Jackson. I mean gorgeous.

      • OHHH

        Janet Jackson is beautiful like that? You’re either somalian or ethiopian LoL…Forehead and big bites…

    • monitorette

      First of all, you are a dumb person, but you already know it.
      Then, women from Senegal or from Cameroun are as beautiful (if not more) as the women from East Africa.

    • L-Boogie

      LOL! You sound very stupid. Black women from around the world are beautiful. Check yourself fool.

    • L-Boogie

      LOL! You sound very stupid. Black women from around the world are beautiful. Check yourself fool.

    • maggie

      your comment is too easy to disprove and quite laughable

  • Excepcion

    Culture is identity. Stupid thing for a presumably learned man to say that an ethnic group
    should check their culture at the door. Its so easy to point out the
    inconveniences of a culture which is not your own.

  • Meyaka

    After thoroughly insulting me a member of mn made allusions to my race, a d my inability to “speak English ” correctly. I have accepted that a lot of Americans black or white have their feelings about Africans . I speak, read and write English which I only learned 6 years ago, my firsts language were French and Arabic. So I don’t feel like I have to check my culture at the door, since when I come across an ignorant person in real life, I walk the other way.

    • You Good Hon

      That was me. I know I’m pretty harsh with my bluntness. Sorry sis. I simply have zero tolerance for anyone….from anywhere comin at me with ASSumptions – and THEN to add insult to injury, resort to expletives and ebonics. On some of my good days, I get THIRTY ‘unlikes’, and a good 12 Haters attacking everything about me all the way to MY first ancestor! `Guess it makes me pretty defensive at times. Am working on that. `Doesn’t help that I have a SMART mouth (with a high IQ to match. Believe it.) God bless your African identity. I wish slavery hadn’t compromised mine so severely. Oh well. Live and let live. I hope you have a great life. Peace.

      • Meyaka

        You don’t like people coming to you with assumption, but you assumed I had a kid, you assumed I was ghetto, you assumed I was stupid when I guarantee you I’m 10 times smarter and have way more culture than you, girl boo, I would wish you a nice life but I don’t mean it.

      • get real

        I love your mentality. I love to hear to sisters talking bout embracing their Africaness. Because most run from it.

      • OHHHH

        Africans in Africa love African Americans. Believe me when I say that cuz I am African. I came to the US because of african americans cuz I felt it would be just like home. But I come here, I got laughed at, people asking me if i still live in trees and hang out with animals. Forget about comments regarding my skin color and ppl assuming africans sold their brothers and sisters to slavery. That’s very disappointing to say the least. What is the school system teaching you? Go read books written by the oppressed not the oppressors. Africa is a beautiful place with lots of natural resources, if only black people came together.

        • Miss Anonymous

          The sad part about your statement is that its true about what is being taught in the school systems. I didnt learn any thing good about Africa until I took a class on it in high school. In the US history books they basically tapped on the slavery issue but had a full unit on the Holocaust. They are even having slavery erased out of history books. You have to basically go out and do your own research.

      • Excepcion

        Unless there is a comment missing or that wasn’t posted, Im having a hard time understanding how a smart mouth and a high IQ justifies ignorance and intolerance of other ethnic groups. I thought a high IQ indicates a higher functioning and versatile learned brain, which on the most basic level has the ability to discern, critically think and examine as a part of a more complete thought process. At this point if your excuse for viewing immigrants especially African immigrants negatively is because of your lack of identity or connections to Africa that seriously trumps the IQ mention. You were blessed with intelligence which provides you with an expansive mind to understand the disconnect.You are aware of what caused it and have to tools to repair and build a stronger connection. The first step would be YOU learning and understanding how other groups live and function..but you instead choose to use your “IQ” as a tool to arrogantly and thoughtfully reason your bigotry. Shame ! Ultimately you are your own worse enemy regardless of how others may treat you.

  • L-Boogie

    Um, hope he has a good lawyer.