January 2010 Archives

Stealing the Babies: Baptist "Rescue Missions" in Haiti

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Ten members of the Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho went on a mission to "rescue" thirty-three Haitian kids by attempting to steal and take them across the border to the Dominican Republic. Fortunately, Haitian authorities stopped the church group. Central Valley's web site has this "news update" on their homepage:

A ten member church team traveled to Haiti to help rescue children from one or more orphanages that had been devastated in the earthquake on January 12. The children were being taken to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic where they could be cared for and have their medical and emotional needs attended to. Our team was falsely arrested today and we are doing everything we can from this end to clear up the misunderstanding that has occurred in Port au Prince.

If I were lying dead in Haiti and my baby was out there homeless, the absolute last person I would want to take my baby is anyone who thinks that their race, religion, family, country, and culture are superior to my own. The ideology of this church is best captured in the rationale that its "Minister of Connections," Drew Ham, provides for becoming a "strong Southern Baptist" (typos and capitalizations, his):

I was saved at the age of 5. It was very clear to me: I was sinner and headed to hell. However, Jesus Christ died on a cross for my sins. The choice was pretty simple: a.) accept Jesus and spend eternity in heaven or b.) reject him and accept the consequences of hell. It was pretty much a no-brainer for me. I often speak of my life a journey - a quest toward the KINGdom of heaven (Matthew 6:33). I am continually striving to be more Christ-like and know God at a deeper level.

Can it really be considered a "rescue" if a large group of unknown, white, "strong southern Baptists" who think anyone who isn't "saved" will be subject to "the consequences of hell" pick up black, Caribbean kids and take them anywhere? Talk about culture shock for those kids! I am not only galled but, perhaps, a little frightened of how fierce such church groups can be.

You can read "Haiti Detains Americans Taking Kids Across Border ," an Associated Press report on the group's failed attempt, in the Sunday (31 January 2010) World section of The New York Times.

"Whites Only" Basketball League?

Amanda Terkel of the "Think Progress" blog has a good, brief article on the league.

"Ride the Fence"

Haiti_map.gifBelow is an important statement made by the Adoptees of Color Roundtable (a new site for discussion) regarding the fast-tracking of Haitian adoptions. (Thanks, Ron, for the link!) The group rightly critiques the concept of the Northern family as better, preferred, supposed haven and bastion of rationality for Haitian children. I find their statements significant in relation to international and domestic transracial adoptions.

Statement on Haiti by the Adoptees of Color Roundtable

This statement reflects the position of an international community of adoptees of color who wish to pose a critical intervention in the discourse and actions affecting the child victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. We are domestic and international adoptees with many years of research and both personal and professional experience in adoption studies and activism. We are a community of scholars, activists, professors, artists, lawyers, social workers and health care workers who speak with the knowledge that North Americans and Europeans are lining up to adopt the "orphaned children" of the Haitian earthquake, and who feel compelled to voice our opinion about what it means to be "saved" or "rescued" through adoption.

Global North's Role in Haitian Crisis

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People-wander-the-streets-008.jpgVictims bodies laid out in the street | Photo: Cruz Roja /Espanola/EPA

13 January 2010

Guardian, UK
BY Peter Hallward

Peter Hallward is professor of Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University and author of Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment

If we are serious about assisting this devastated land we must stop trying to control and exploit it

Any large city in the world would have suffered extensive damage from an earthquake on the scale of the one that ravaged Haiti's capital city on Tuesday afternoon, but it's no accident that so much of Port-au-Prince now looks like a war zone. Much of the devastation wreaked by this latest and most calamitous disaster to befall Haiti is best understood as another thoroughly manmade outcome of a long and ugly historical sequence.

History & Politics Defines the Response to & Vulnerability of Haiti

e670585c-0027-11df-8626-00144feabdc0.jpgI have tried to quickly assemble various comments, media, and press in this post on the recent "natural and unnatural" crisis, as Naomi Klein refers to it, in Haiti that began just days ago.

Why is the U.S. still "assessing" the situation in Haiti?!? China is already there. Venezuela and Cuba have already stepped in. The U.S. "didn't create the earthquake, but we created some of the circumstances that . . ." Below are some enlightening comments by guests on today's Democracy Now broadcast. You can listen to the full program by watching the video at the end of this post.Haiti Damon Winter NYT '10.JPGAlso below is an op-ed by Tracy Kidder from the New York Times, "Country without a Net>"

Lastly, if you are planning on helping in Haiti, one way to help is to push governments to offer grants NOT LOANS to the country!

Don't fear the victims.

In 1804, the imported African slaves revolted against the French rulers and established a free black state. The US responded very badly because we still enslaved millions of Africans.

Poor, Poor, Field of Education

IMG_0554.jpgThough I have been in education as a teacher and administrator for almost two decades, the title of an article published in the December issue of the American Educational Research Association's "official" journal demonstrates exactly why I have never been to AERA's annual conference.

"(E)pistemological Awareness, Instantiation Methods, and Uninformed Methodological Ambiguity in Qualitative Research Projects"

If you just must, you can find this surely riveting article in Educational Researcher 38.9 (December 2009): 687-700.

The "Elastic Boundaries of Whiteness"

2000-census-categories.pngL.A. Times - Opinion
"The Dark Side of White"
28 December 2009

For decades, immigrants to the U.S. have sought protection and status by identifying with the 'white' race. But what they -- and society -- have lost is a horse of another color.

From 1790 to 1952, only "white people" were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens. That fact alone explains why for most of our history, immigrants and their descendants fought to be considered white.

It wasn't a pretty process. Nor did the coveted category of "whiteness" have any clear definition. Oh, sure, some dimwitted people really thought it was a rigidly scientific category. But for the most part, the evolving definitions and elastic boundaries of whiteness were subject to cultural bias and, let's face it, whim and subjectivity.

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