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Don’t Blame Haiti’s Problems on the United States

The director of Media and Journalism at Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute has written a frenetic Twitter rant against anyone who agrees with Donald Trump' alleged comments that places like Haiti are “sh*t-holes.” He says the very claim is racist, because people like Trump fundamentally believe “white people are better.”

Anti-capitalist Jonathan Katz, who is also a fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good, wrote in a series of tweets,

Lot of folks, from the alt-right to @RichLowry, think they’re making a great argument in the president’s defense tonight by noting that Haiti and El Salvador are, in fact, poor. But they’re just revealing their own racism. Here’s why:

In order to do a victory lap around the GDP difference between, say, Norway and Haiti, you have to know nothing about the history of the world. That includes, especially, knowing nothing real about the history of the United States.

You have to first of all understand nothing about the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. You have to not understand anything about the systematic theft of African bodies and lives. And you have to not understand how that theft built the wealth we have today in Europe and the US.

He goes on to say that because of Haiti’s foreign invasions, the cholera epidemic caused by the United Nations, and the exploitation of Haiti’s resources to enrich more developed nations like France, Haiti is poor and politically corrupt because of the actions and racism of the West.

In short, you’d have to know nothing about WHY Haiti is poor (or El Salvador in kind), and WHY the United States (and Norway) are wealthy. But far worse than that, you’d have to not even be interested in asking the question. And that’s where they really tell on themselves ...

Because what they are showing is that they ASSUME that Haiti is just naturally poor, that it’s an inherent state borne of the corruption of the people there, in all senses of the word. And let’s just say out loud why that is: It’s because Haitians are black.

Racists have needed Haiti to be poor since it was founded. They pushed for its poverty. They have celebrated its poverty. They have tried to profit from its poverty. They wanted it to be a shithole. And they still do.

If Haiti is a shithole, then they can say that black freedom and sovereignty are bad. They can hold it up as proof that white countries—and what’s whiter than Norway—are better, because white people are better. They wanted that in 1804, and in 1915, and they want it now.