Perhaps I am more disconcerted at the fact that one day in my high school class, I heard a 16-year-old white male child suggest that the U.S. should just go into Haiti with “guns-a-blazing and take over the country.”
Imagine the initial shock, rage and disbelief I endured in trying not to lose my everlasting mind. I mean, given the circumstances that I am the only Black male educator on staff, I knew that my reaction would be heavily scrutinized by the progenitors of the loyal, supports of Trump. Hey, it was a tight situation.
Admittedly, I was at a loss for words and tried to conjure a politically correct redirection. At that moment, it was critical to answer in a way that could illuminate and educate the student, and the rest of the class about the glorious, yet tragic reality that is Haiti.
However, the fact that a young, white, 16-year-old could suggest such an irrational and wholly paternalistic mentality underscores the level of aloofness, ignorance and sheer pathological nature of white privilege.
Lest we forget the latest “global bowel movement” being the United Nations apology for causing the cholera outbreak in Haiti. And the recent Oxfam scandal that uncovered staff and volunteers forcing women to trade sex for aid after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The reasons why Haiti is a “Shithole,” can be directly attributed to the steady diet of violence, oppression, exploitation and manipulation by France, Spain, England and the United States. But before being called Haiti, the island was known as Saint Domingue. And before it was Saint Domingue it was Ay’iti. During the height of its colonial subjugation, Saint Domingue was known as the “Pearl of the Antilles.” This was because of the extensive resources that Spain and France were able to steal and distribute to the world in order to build vast wealth for France.
If it were not for sugar cane plantations of Haiti, much of the classic French wine, champagne and spirits dominating the industry today would not be so. While sugar and coffee production was so lucrative in Haiti, the lives cultivating the cash crop were dispensable. Records show that the average lifespan for enslaved Africans in Haiti was six years before the revolution.
Freedom for Some
In 1790, a slave rebellion initiated by Toussaint L’Ouverture was the catalyst for a protracted war that subsequently ended France’s colonial rule. By 1801, Saint Domingue the war with France was over. However, it wasn’t until 1804, when Toussaint L’Ouvertutre turned himself into France that Haiti was assured by France that it would recognize its independence.
Truly remarkable, is a nation of slaves that could liberate themselves from France, Spain, England and the United States given the circumstances they were dealt. Just as these white nations mounted their own conquests for freedom, they could not and would not accept nor allow Haiti the opportunity to join the fraternity of nationhood. In its stead, these nations filled this void with loads of political “shit” that did not work.
A Series of Dumps
Round one of the first load of “excrement” dumped in the space of acceptance was an indemnity imposed by France in the amount of 150 million francs, valued at $21 billion dollars on the newly freed country. This debt would be finally paid off by 1947.
Under the duplicitous guise of guidance and diplomacy, the United States decided to occupy Haiti from 1911 – 1934. This “manure,” they believed would establish stability and guide Haiti to being a more stable nation. Wrong!
From 1911, when the U.S. “intervened” into Haiti’s affairs, the island nation experienced a series of assassinations and coups. Though, the U.S. said it came to help, the Administration feared Germany’s ambitions to move into the Caribbean.
Undoubtedly, this period contributed to further weakening an already fragile infrastructure. Furthermore, it intensified class and identity issues, turning Haiti into an even bigger fecal, turbid mess.
By 1915, the U.S. assumed complete control over the political, social and economic functions of the country. In addition, it trained the national police force who ended up being a brutal regime. This act would further cement its stagnation and underdevelopment post slavery. Furthermore, it reestablished white male control over a nation of Blacks.
When the U.S. was not directly involved in the underdevelopment of Haiti, it turned a blind eye to the “poop-filled diapered institutions” it created to “guide” the island nation.
For example, during occupation, the US frequently interfered with the politics of the nation. At several points, it aided in the overthrow of elected presidents then installed leaders that were favorable to US interests.
In spite of the spate of hostilities, Haiti seemingly found hope and redemption in the form of Jean Bertrand Aristide, who was elected on two occasions. Only, to be overthrown both times because he sought to reshape the economic opportunities for the most exploited in Haiti.
This hope was temporary, for the legacy of hostility and diplomacy by France and the U.S. were “fluid fecal evacuations.” As a consequence, neo-colonial powers left the nation with a chronic condition of poverty, instability and weakened infrastructures. Instead of a better system of governance, Haiti became was left more ill-prepared to deal with the education of its people, a fragile economic condition and unequipped to deal with natural disasters.
The fact that nations such as France, Spain, the United States have soiled the concept of freedom and independence by perennially creating muddled, putrid, hostile and unstable conditions in Haiti, Africa and El Salvador. Moreover, they refuse to clean up their mess, instead they place the blame for the mess on the nations they exploited. Sad!
Oh yeah, regarding my response to the 16-year-old steeped in ignorance and white privilege. After his comment, I closed the proximity between us, looked him straight in the eye and asked him, “So, would you be willing to join the military and go over there?” He responded, “I can’t, I have a medical condition” to which I responded, “Oh, so you are all talk?” the class just sighed in disbelief, some shook their head, others expressed their opposition to him as he retreated to a place of silence and effusive insecurity.