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ERIC Number: EJ932759
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-6855
Haiti: From Charity to Justice
LaMastra, Kevin
Rethinking Schools, v24 n3 p42-43 Spr 2010
It is not easy to learn the "real story" of Haiti; mainstream historical accounts are often told through a distorted lens of racism and colonial exploitation. Even today, in the aftermath of the quake, Haiti's poverty is blamed on poor leadership, a lack of democratic traditions, and isolation due to language. Commentators describe it as a dangerous place requiring foreign intervention, its people incapable of running their own affairs. This, claims this author, lays the groundwork for those who will try to use the disaster as an opportunity to "reshape" Haiti's government and economy in a manner that will further impoverish its people while continuing to deny Haiti its rights to self-determination. So as the Haitian people courageously struggle to respond to the disaster with little besides their bare hands, there is something else one must learn, and teach, from this tragic moment in history. Students feel sympathy for the Haitian people. But that is not enough. If they are not asked to consider the legacy of racism and systemic injustice that underlies extreme poverty, students may revert to stereotypical understandings of the poor, blaming their situation on a lack of education, a poor work ethic, or some other personal shortcoming. When students recognize the common problems, struggles, and interconnected histories, feelings of sympathy can mature to ones of empathy and, finally, solidarity. People can move from talking about charity to working for justice.
Rethinking Schools, Ltd. 1001 East Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Tel: 414-964-9646; Fax: 414-964-7220; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Haiti