It is clear that the cultures of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples are incredibly significant because of how much white people fear them. Throughout history, cultural traditions have been used to mobilize groups of Black and Brown people together against a common threat—white supremacy. People of color have survived centuries of endless white violence and, at many turns, have used the power and reverence for our many cultures as a means to fight back. It is crucial that we preserve our cultural roots as much as we can, especially in these times when white supremacy and nationalism are so blatantly on display. White supremacists and nationalists have historically used the concept of “culture wars” to demonize people of color and paint themselves as victims, usually of some form of the white genocide mythos. Racists and xenophobes yelling at people of color for not speaking English, even threatening to call ICE, is one of the many hills they choose to die on. Their fear of other cultures—languages, traditions, religions, ethnicities, ideologies—is apparent in their actions, on both small and large scales. During the build-up to the 2016 presidential election, National Review’s Reihan Salam described culture wars as the “fight over the future of American national identity in the face of rapid and accelerating demographic change.” Culture wars are, more or less, a seemingly endless contention over who can and who cannot be considered a “True American,” with white, cis straight, conservative, Christians being the ones with the most ability to lay claim to this title and, therefore, also the ones with the ability to determine who else has access to rights in America. “In almost every case, these culture wars have been conservative projects, instigated and waged by people anxious about the loss of old orders and the emergence of new ones. Their anxiety finds expression first as a complaint about a particular policy, and second as a broader lament about how far the nation has fallen from its founding glory and how desperately we need to restore whatever is passing away.” —Stephen Prothero, Washington Post It is clear that the cultures of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples are incredibly significant because of how much white people fear them. Therefore, we cannot forget how our ancestors have used their various cultures as weapons against white supremacy, as tools to work towards their own liberation, and as mechanisms to cope in their positions as marginalized peoples. We cannot forget how the many children of the African Diaspora have used cultural traditions to combat and subvert white supremacist violences as they waded in the devastation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Bois Caïman is where the seed that would grow into the 18th century Haitian Revolution and slave insurrection was planted. At this site, the organized resistance began to take form when a traditional Vodou ceremony was performed. Vodou is a religion and philosophy with deep cultural roots and significant meaning that was birthed in Haiti (once called Saint-Domingue) when an amalgam of religious beliefs were carried to the island with the ships harboring people stolen from Africa. During this time, Haiti was under French colonial rule. The island was rich in sugar, coffee, and indigo, which the enslaved were forced to harvest and maintain. Their revolution was a fight against the harsh labor, as well as the dehumanization and incremental genocide at the hands of the French colonists.
Our collective healing, our resiliency, is power. Give life to that. They say there’s a thin line between love and hate. Unfortunately, while we hope for love, hate carries an equal vibrational field on the heart as love does and healing seems fraught. Recently, it has been difficult to shift through the world without feeling the dark reverberations of hatred, even within ourselves. For example: I hate Trump. I hate white supremacy. I hate cis patriarchal capitalism. More importantly, I hate that I fixate on this hatred I have for all these things. Don’t get me wrong, this hatred I feel is legitimate. It’s not an alternative fact, and I’m not suggesting that we not allow ourselves to hate these things. However, if I’m honest with myself, then I must admit that the hatred which permeates my mind is draining. Last year, I focused a lot of my energy—way too much energy—on that hate, dwelling in the reality that was the 2016 presidential race, buried in disgust and, in my most vulnerable moments, despair. While the election of a white man as mediocre and hateful as Donald Trump wasn’t surprising or a new phenomenon for a nation founded on and maintained by white supremacy, another win for white mediocrity isn’t any less painful. Let’s keep it 100. Had a liberal democrat or democratic socialist won, things wouldn’t have been much different. The fact of the matter is, in racial capitalism, Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same shabby coin. Yes, Ronald Reagan gave us trickle down economics, but Bill Clinton gutted welfare reform, cutting our safety nets, the only sense of systemic security BIPOC have ever known beyond our own support systems. Yes, George W. Bush botched up the federal response to Katrina which wrecked and displaced hundreds of poor Black lives, but Hillary Clinton popularized “super-predators” as a descriptor of Black youth and enthusiastically rallied behind her husband’s now-infamous and draconian Crime Bill, the impact of which we are still dealing with today.
What will it take for all of us to continue to care about what's happening in Haiti? There is something adrift — or perfectly in line with the machinations of white supremacy — amongst the current crop of wealthy, Republican elite flaunting their power in D.C., when The Washington Post writer Jennifer Reuben has to describe the Trump administration’s decision to deport 50,000 - 60,000 Haitians from the United States, as “abject cruelty”. “There is no particular need –aside from red meat for the anti-immigrant base — to expel these law-abiding people who have made their home here for as long as seven years,” Reuben writes. This isn’t surprising. Throwing red meat at the conservative base, most of whom hold anti-immigrant prejudices, has been an indispensable component of President Trump’s domestic policy. And as recently as last week, Trump reportedly called Haiti and El Salvador, predominantly black nations, “shithole countries,” a move which quickly prompted U.S. Ambassador to Panama John Feeley to resign from office. Abominable as Trump’s comment is, as with everything else this president does, it seems to have been the spark that sent outraged Haitian protesters to the streets. AJC.com reports that 400 Haitian protesters and allies marched on Trump’s Winter White House in West Palms, Florida, demanding an apology. In an interview with Wear Your Voice (WYV), DJ Sabine Blaizin, WYV's co-host of LaKay Se Lakay: The Revolution and a Haitian artist who is deeply attuned to the issues that impact Haitians across the diaspora, expressed concern that the Haitian community seemed to be too complacent in the face of the federal government’s obvious coldheartedness. Asked why resistance to Trump’s revocation of Temporary Protection Status (TPS) appeared low, Blaizin suggested that Haitians may be unaware of the serious ramifications of what’s about to go down 17 months from now, when Haitian refugees are expected to “make arrangements” to return home.
You don't have permission to register LOGIN