Haters Gonna Hate Haitians

© Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images United States Border Patrol agents on horseback try to stop Haitian migrants from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021.

Many people leave social media platforms like Facebook because they become sickened by displays of hatred toward marginalized groups.

The astounding ignorance of history that underlies comments about refugees massing at the Mexican border in Texas underlies current hate speech in response to videos of Border Patrol agents on horseback whipping Black migrants. I’m not going to repeat any of their nastiness but I am going to respond to a Maine news outlet’s post of the whipping story that generated a long string of comments from haters.

The super wealthy who own media outlets have taught white people to hate immigrants and fear that their presence contributes to the steady decline of wealth for working class people and the truly poor. 

Conservative haters are fond of the word patriotism and they express love for national borders with cruel practices in place to keep non-white people out of the U.S.

How much do they or you or I really know about Haiti and the people emigrating from there in the 21st century? What, if anything, does the U.S. owe them?

Here’s a thumbnail sketch of significant events in Haiti’s history:

  • Haiti is 1/3 of the Caribbean island colonized by Europeans after genocidal maniac Columbus made landfall there in 1492.
  • Haiti was once France’s richest colony, using the labor of Africans who had been kidnapped from their homes and enslaved on plantations.
  • Haiti successfully overthrew its colonial masters with a revolution 1791-1804. They established the first Black republic and were the second to successfully break away from the colonizers who exploited them (guess who the first was?).
  • Crippling debt in the form of reparations to France was agreed to in order to gain diplomatic recognition as a legitimate country. 90 million gold francs would be equivalent to around $21 billion today. Haitians endured poverty while these payments to the already wealthy France were made for decades.
  • The U.S. Marine Corps invaded and occupied Haiti 1915-1934. They imposed trade relations favorable to the U.S. that continued to impoverish Haitians.
  • Starting in the 1980’s, the CIA funded and otherwise supported the Haitian military and the Haitian National Intelligence Service.
  • Beginning in 1990 popular candidate Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president. A military coup forced him out and he went into exile until 1994 when he returned and served out his term.
  • The U.S. military again occupied Haiti 1994-1997.
  • Aristide was re-elected in a landslide in 2000. A military coup removed him in 2004 and he went into exile again.
  • In 2010 Haitians suffered a devastating earthquake followed by a flood of alleged aid workers and peace keeper that brutally exploited upheaval and chaos following the quake. 200,000 died and many of the survivors emigrated to South America. Those people and their children who were born abroad are a large proportion of the migrants now gathered in Texas.
  • In July, 2021 President Jovenel Moïse, who was closely aligned with the U.S. and the Haitian military and overstaying his term of office, was assassinated.
  • Last month (August, 2021) Haitians suffered another big earthquake killing around 2,000 and injuring around 12,000 people.
  • Climate chaos in the form of devastating hurricanes strikes Haiti regularly.
  • Mass deportations even of people not born in Haiti are the Biden administration’s response to the suffering at the border.
  • Haiti remains the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.

If you read this far hoping that U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, would come off better than his immigrant-hating predecessor — the reality is far more disappointing.

My photo — Federal building, Bangor, Maine, July 3, 2019

Because guess what? There are still children being kept in cages for crossing the border, too. And it’s still a national disgrace.

One thought on “Haters Gonna Hate Haitians

  1. Thank you, Lisa, for writing this quick summary of the shameful history of the U.S. in Haiti. The poorest countries and peoples, such as farmers, are usually the most exploited by imperial powers.
    Although President Biden has appointed more diverse people in high government positions, such as Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, there is no getting around the fact that he has the mindset of a privileged white male, especially when it comes to immigrants at the border. What has changed this year for me is that I no longer accept white privileged males as the way it is. I am growing increasingly intolerant, and it is becoming more abhorrent and unacceptable. Instead of seeing it as our reality, I am seeing it for the ugly filth it truly is that needs to be cleaned up. It is time for women to rise like the phoenix.

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