For years, I’ve written about people who were told they should be deported based on their legal status, but I never expected that I would be told the same.
Until Michael Savage. The nation’s No. 3 radio host in listeners penned those words, ostensibly because he thinks I have no legal status or that a foreign-born journalist shouldn’t write stories that don’t fit in with his narrow political view.
For the record, I came to this country in 2000 as a legal refugee and earned my permanent residency legally. I hope to become a U.S. citizen sometime soon.
I came to this country to pursue the American dream, not to take advantage of it, as Savage suggested in his deeply offensive e-mail to Minnesota Monitor’s managing editor.
It’s offensive and reprehensible because Savage seems to suggest that I — along with the six imams whose story I have covered accurately and professionally from the beginning — don’t belong in this country. It’s a protectionist attitude at its worst, coupled with deep-rooted resentment against immigrants and people of color.
I left my native Somalia because of a protracted conflict and to escape physical and emotional injury. To have a radio personality with so many listeners inflict a similar injury, in the land where I sought refuge, is frightening.
Since coming to this country barely six years ago, I have done all the right things. I secured a job to support myself and my family back home, all the while attending school to study what I’ve always dreamed of doing: telling people’s stories.
But I never imagined that becoming a journalist would prompt an influential person like Michael Savage to unleash such hate, bigotry and prejudice against me. Those are not the great American values I’ve seen over the past six years. And Savage’s remarks won’t deter me from pursuing my dream.
In fact, I’ll be even stronger and bolder in my soul and in my work. I say that, knowing that for every Michael Savage, there are many more tolerant and respectful people in this country and this state.