Sunday, January 24, 2010

Haiti I Can See Your Halo


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via the tuskegee experiment by (safire blew) on 1/24/10

First, I'd like to thank Beyonce for once again justifying the amount of public ridicule that my friends and I subject her to on a regular basis by singing her own, stupidly and ever so slightly altered ballad at a telethon for humanitarian relief.

You never cease to amaze me with your shameless self-involvement and abject stupidity when it comes to anything other than figuring out the most fascinating angle at which you should pop your ass at a video camera.

Oh, yeah, and I appreciate you giving me a "snappy" title for this post.

It's been a minute here at TI, and since my partner-in-crime, Sum, has ascended to the upper echelon of the blogentsia (the bloggerati?), I guess I'll get off my rather complacent ass and take care of the somewhat dirty job we are supposed to be doing around here.

Shout out, Sum, for the Women & Film piece and the work at Black Youth Project work. You do me proud!

Anyhow, I'm not exactly apologetic that it has taken something like the Haiti disaster to bring me back to political(ly incorrect) blogging. I guess I could get on and bitch weekly or even daily about the rather disappointing decisions that Obama's been making since he took office, or the Republican's ridiculously convoluted efforts to thwart them, but I'd actually have to be... I don't know... shocked or something to do that.

I voted for Obama because I firmly believe, like the ngh Chris Rock, that true equality is when black men can fuck up as readily and hugely as white men.

I never expected Obama to save the world, the US, or even black people-I just thought it was high time that we got the chance to go into the White House and demonstrate that a ngh can misuse undeserved, unwieldly power as agilely as any average-ass alcoholic white man.

It was time...

I've kept my peace. America's going to hell in the envelope of an unemployment check, but whatever. Obama doesn't have the balls to strike up any New Deals (he doesn't even have to balls to buy new jeans or Nikes apparently), so fuck it.

Like one of my students told me, the world's gonna end in two years anyway. I'm partying like it's 19... 2010.

But now Haiti has been plunged into the hellish aftermath of an almost cataclysmic series of earthquakes. And the US is fucking up efforts to help its people after pretending to be as concerned for them as fucking Wyclef Jean or Brad Pitt or whoever.

I gotta say something. For all my brothers and sisters in the diaspora.

(Wait, did I just say 'diaspora'?)

My basic problem with the whole conversation that's going on here in the US about Haiti is-wait for it-the hypocrisy.

You weren't expecting that, were you?

No, seriously. I know that we are as known for our hypocrisy over here as we are for our stupidity, xenophobia, repressed sexuality, obesity, and unexplicable love of strip malls, but I still have to say something. Because people are getting on my nerves with the slick-talking way that they are trying to characterize the Haitian victims of this disaster as historical culprits deserving of divine retribution for their so-called political crimes. Either that or as savages who lack the intelligence or "civility" to take actual humanitarian aid.

Just like Nicolas Eustache Maurin decided to depict Toussaint as an ape in a pirate hat to express his chauvenistic contempt for the man that dared strike back at his French oppressors, so too is a certain segment of the American media and government depicting devastated Haitians as criminals and crazies because:

1) They still, still, still resent that Haiti is a nation of self-governing black people that have refused to sell themselves for proverbial rum and rifles, no matter how poor or underdeveloped it may be,

2) They do not enjoy the fact that renegade negroes like Toussaint-who have been historically villified by America's western allies-are not so different from the pirate-hat wearing, tea-stealing settlers that started this great nation,

3) They want to cover for the US government's largely unfounded yet continual refusal to change policies toward Haitian refugees over the last five decades, even as the huge faults in the way that Haiti has been historically and recently governed have been revealed in its inability to rebound from the earthquakes without tremendous amounts of outside help, and

4) They want to justify sending troops to secure Haiti (with its darned "progress-resistant cultural influences") rather than sending supplies to nurse and feed it.

Check the LA Times' primer on Us-Haiti relations. Check the article on the so-called relief effort on Slate.

"Pockets of anarchy and violence" are bound to pop up wherever people have been oppressed for a ridiculous length of time, stripped of their resources, and effectively left to languish. This tendency to lash out in anger at mistreatment is not native to the Haitians or blacks, right Thomas Jefferson? Paul Revere? Edward Gerrish, Bartholomew Broaders, Richard Holmes (three instigators of the Boston Massacre who were not-ironically-among the 11 killed in the incident)

It is not the fault of the earthquake victims that their political plight has been largely ignored by bigger, richer, whiter nations, allowing their anger and resentment of their historically poor leadership and entrenched poverty to grow into a force that could probably have shaken the island to rubble itself if ever fully loosed.

It's not their fault that on the back end of this horrible disaster, they still have criminals that need policing (that isn't there) or (the nerve) bodies that need feeding and watering.

The fact that they are being depicted so negatively is not their fault either. It's punishment. For being a black nation that wrested its power. A nation of slaves that freed themselves rather than waiting for documentary permission. For remaining stubbornly independent of potential allies who were only going to give with one hand to take with the other.

The true retaliatory force in this situation is not the biblical devil, but the myopic white one, the western notion that because Haiti's chose to cut themselves off from western power, it does not deserve to benefit from western wealth, at least not in any truly progressive or substantive way.

And perhaps the West is justified in feeling this way, but then don't fake like a concerned group of humanitarians.

Say exactly what you intend to do, Pat Robertsons, David Brookses, and just why you intend to do it.

Stop feigning elite panic and admit that you help countries like Haiti not for their own good, but for yours, to maintain a favorable image on the international stage.

Clear the stupid troops away from the airport so that people that are truly trying to save babies and feed starved and wounded people can get the food and medical supplies to them. Bring them back to their bases if you aren't going to have them out in the streets hefting bags of rice.

Just like I would exhort our girl Beyonce the next time someone asks her to sing for a relief benefit, stop faking like you give a shit.

It hasn't been a good look in these bitter years following Katrina, and it isn't any better now.


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