“SHITHOLE” SHOWDOWN

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now how Donald Trump allegedly used the word “shithole” to describe certain countries like Haiti, El Salvador and other African countries.

My assignment: get local reaction.

Immediately the wheels in my head start turning; who should I talk to? Where can I go to find people from these countries? How do I ask them to share their thoughts on this without offending them? Who can I find who will defend what Donald Trump said?

My photographer Armando Aparicio-Garcia and I drove to a well-known Ethiopian restaurant along El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego to see if we would have any luck. It’s a small restaurant, warm and cozy inside with the comforting smell of food cooking that reminded me of going to my grandma’s house when I was a little kid.

restaurantwelcome

As luck would have it (I give credit to my Irish roots for somehow always pulling off great interviews), the owner’s husband, and his friend wanted to talk.

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From left to right: Tadela Bayou and Abebe Antallo

Tadela Bayou was born in Ethiopia. He immigrated to America 38 years ago, finished his education, became an aerospace systems engineer, and now his family owns Harar Ethiopian Restaurant in San Diego. Ironically enough, and maybe that’s why we connected right away, Tadela told me his name means “lucky.”

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Tadela and his son
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Tadela’s wife

My first question for Tadela: “What went through your head when you heard the word Donald Trump used to describe certain countries?”

Much to my surprise, he started by using the word “kind” to describe Americans.

“I know many Americans like me are embarrassed by his statements,” Tadela said. “But let the world know that [Donald Trump is] not representing the great American value.”

His friend Abebe Antallo has been in America since 1985; both of them are American citizens, and they admit that things are bad in Ethiopia right now.

The following words from Antallo brought tears to my eyes:

“We all are human beings. The human beings we came from one DNA,” Abebe said. “Our DNA is one. You are white. I am black. Either is brown. The rest are yellow. We don’t choose our color. Our color came to us by nature. So we have to respect and live together.”

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Abebe Antallo

These men are proud, talented, dignified, smart and brave. They left everything they knew to find a better life for themselves and their families and are now contributing to society. Isn’t that what everyone’s dream is?

You have to watch them for yourself here.

Because it is my job to remain impartial and be unbiased during stories, I also spoke to someone who says he understands why Donald Trump used that word.

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PIC HEC
Hector Gastelum

Here is my full report. My biggest goal was to be right down the middle of this story, as it is every day that I put on my makeup to go into 10News.

I went home that night feeling that I accomplished that, and I am hoping someday soon it will be everyone’s first reaction to reach for kindness first instead of hatred.

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