I'm sure that everyone here has been deeply moved to give five or ten dollars to help the beligured people of Haiti. By all means give give give till it hurts. I am giving $20 because that amount will hurt me. Nothing said in this article should be taken as my opposing giving aid to the relief effort.
However consider the following news items.
Mulatto official speaking about the security situation in Haiti.
Woman rescued from the Caribbean market in Petionville, Port Au prince Haiti. The person is likely one of the educated sad to say minority, she speaks good English. By Haitian standards looking at her hair and skin is likely considered a mulatto.
Baby sitter of a 6 month old little girl who's parents are likely dead. They went shopping at the Caribbean market in Petionville. From what I have read of it the place catered to tourist (i.e. it had a Domino's Pizza). The man in it might be a mulatto by Haitian standards (note the hair curly but not napped) and would be more educated as indicated by his knowing English.
By contrast a school building in another neighborhood has collapsed. There are people alive in this school building. Young children and teachers. Yet they don't get an Icelandic rescue effort with all the trimmings? Bearing in mind the person rescued in the second video had luckily not been pinned down where she was.
Judging the these people seem to speak Kreyol, the language of at least 80% of the population. (A mix of French and west African, with a touch of Taino. The equivalent of Ebonics in the US but there it's an official language.) They are the poorer section, and in appearance different from those above.
By contrast there is this video which shows the total lack of any outside aid going to this neighborhood, which from the look of it, is populated by people who contrast with the first group. WARNING THIS VIDEO HAS SOME GRAPHIC IMAGES OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.
When the media wants to speak of "Law and Order" and "Refugees" what shade of people with what texture of hair do they show?
Bear in mind and take into consideration that what's "lite skin" in Haiti is not what's lite skin in America. Here the rumored test involved paper bags, or seeing your veins. There it's more of a milk chocolate test if anything.
So what this is white news reporters from America unconsciously making racist choices. They did the same thing in relation to Hurricane Katrina, and some made something of Ray Nagin being relatively light, etc. The difference is that Haiti is what by US standards would be a 99.99999% "black" country. Yet they still have these same exact issues? Am I just outside looking in and imposing US racial and intra African American difficulties on another country.
Sadly no. Take a look at this blog of by and for Haitian's. The comments on there are mostly by people who blame the lighter skinned Haitian's for all of the problems of the darker skinned. Some but not as many are the other way around. Here's a sample.
In a posting called "Haitian Economic Elites The New Cruel Masters."
President Jacques Chirac states in one of his political speeches in Martinique this: I do not think that Haiti was colonized by French although Haiti continues to use our French language.
He has the right to say that, for the 2% mulattoes' dirty pigs are worst and more cruels than the old French cruel masters.So by virtue of having more money and creating businesses the Mulatto's are like cruel slave masters? On the flip side another posting "Technically Obama Is the First Mulatto President."
Pssst! Obama is a MULATTO! People like him do not suffer from mental "what you call mental slavery." They see things from a different perspective.
Those who were never slaves cannot think like slaves.You can all claim him all you want!In fact he will do more for black people then they can do for themselves.
This person writes of being "black" as if it were different from being a Mulatto. I suppose if those two groups have stayed separate lo these 200 years they are. In response one person wrote a hostile response
Sorry mullatto to break that to you. You are a human like everybody else.Your racist and criminal time is over! a haitian 100% black ancestor is Canada governor general.
It goes on and on like that. I could cite hundreds of examples of what seems to be a seething hatred in Haiti of one social class for the other, which overtones of colorism. A colorism which coupling with the external racisms of other peoples could work to make this situation worse for the most vulnerable in Haiti. Those who before the quake lived in utter squalor. Conditions that one would think could not be worse. Yet, they got worse.
As I read all of this information I wrote a very short poem.
When the earth shakes
When the concrete falls
All of us black, brown, white or yellow are red.
Red from the inside, Red and dead.
Red and dead as the Taino.
To put it plainly I fear with a good foundation in fact that aid is , and will be rendered to the upper classes in Haiti before the lower classes. Due in part perhaps to the upper class area's being more secure (i.e. not having as much of a gang problem.) Undeniably this disparity is due in part to colorism and racism. These early choices in distributing aid, and media coverage, will effect Haiti for years. My perception of them has already been changed by hearing that only 53% of the population is literate.
I fear for the future of that country. It seems like unless something drastic is done after this quake we will see a mostly rebuilt down town and Petionville and similar places. While the slums either remain slums or are simply gentrified and moved elsewhere. I realize as I write that that were I in Haiti I would probably be considered one of the hated elite. The way the black community here divides up over color is not so different and I hate it. (see biracial folks talking about discrimination from both sides of the color line. About love of self. About the one drop rule. etc. Personally I'm tri-racial mixed over many generations, which I have blogged about here in another article.)
One last point. Look at the media coverage of this event and how different issues are covered with the eyes of a colored person. It's clear that there is a bias, revealed by the stress of the situation. A bias some will say is simply due to the mulatto's of Petionville and similar locales having money , and knowing English. But those who say that are blind to the real and obvious color bias that accompanies that simply by virtue of who has the money and knows English if nothing else. Something is very wrong I know what, like everyone I don't know what could possibly be done to change it.