Bob Macdonald, the mayor of Lewiston, Maine, is attracting national attention after appearing in a BBC documentary and demanding that the Somali immigrants who live in his town “leave your culture at the door.” Lewiston has become a haven for Somali immigrants who have fled their war-torn and poverty stricken nation. In the BBC documentary, which aired September 11, Macdonald said:
When you come here you accept our culture and leave your culture at the door. I don’t care if you’re white, you’re black, you’re yellow. I don’t care what color you are, when you come into the country, you have to accept our culture. Don’t try to insert your culture into ours.
The comments sparked outrage among the Somali community, but when Macdonald was asked to explain them, he went even further, telling them to go back to Somalia and accusing them of “shirking duties” to their country:
When anybody comes here from any country, they have to embrace our culture. Now, do they have to give up their own culture at home? No. If they want to carry on you know, the Irish St. Patrick’s Day, the French, the Italians, everybody, they all keep their culture, but we all practice a unique culture, and that is an American culture that over 200 years has been developed…Why aren’t you over there fighting for it? If you believe in it so much, why aren’t you over there shedding your blood to get it? Why are you over here shirking your duties? These people are yelling that I’m insensitive to their culture. Well if it’s so great, why aren’t they back over in Somalia? Why are they over here?
In other news, Macdonald has discontinued city-sponsored Christmas decorations. Not.