Catastrophe in Haiti, Tragedy in Africa, and Katrina in New Orleans, have some saying blacks are cursed. Sandy Holman, author of “Grandpa, is Everything Black Bad?” cautions those expressing that sentiment.
January 22, 2010, Davis, Ca. The images of Haitians suffering are heartbreaking. However, I found myself going from tears to torment, after hearing suggestive comments being made about black people in the wake of this horrific tragedy. These statements suggested black people are cursed because of sin, or, in Haiti’s case, their “pact with the Devil.” In essence, darker people are being punished for their wayward ways and God is exacting His wrath.
As author of the book, “Grandpa, is Everything Black Bad?” I’m aware of the power imagery has on people, especially children. I wrote the aforementioned book after encountering countless youth who looked upon their dark skin with condemnation, after years of seeing dark images and people associated with negativity. Often, TV images, Hollywood, educational materials and even spiritual texts, reinforce darkness as something bad or evil. Our language, and certain holidays, ( Halloween), reinforce this phenomenon . The result is pavlovian in nature, and people subconsciously project negativity toward dark people or things.
Of course, years of oppression, colonization, and exploitation by dominant cultures have disproportionately taken a toll on people of color around the world. People of African descent have been particularly affected by a global economy more concerned about natural resources than human capital. However, one would be mistaken to suggest that victims of predatory nations and people have attracted harm to themselves as punishment.
If one believes we reap what we sow, then every country should prepare for calamity. No nation, light or dark, has been exempt from doing evil. Furthermore, if the amount of retribution we receive is based on numbers of people adversely affected and accumulated death toll, persistent and non-repentant exploitation of the poor and their resources, and disdain for the less fortunate, people of various hues should take heed. In the end, “punishment talk” in the wake of such agony and desperation is cruel. The people of Haiti and others in similar situations need love and resources to survive. Regardless of your color, we are all connected and it’s our humanity, in dire times, that defines our moral character. I commend those who have reached out to their brothers and sisters in Haiti and beyond.
The Culture Co-op (Caring, Optimistic, Open-minded People), promotes understanding and respect for diversity, cultural competency, reading and quality education for all. They are preparing to launch the national campaign “We All Have a Heritage, Many Cultures, One World,” to increase cross cultural awareness .
Contact: Sandy Lynne Holman, Director/ www.cultureco-op.com Business Phone:-530-792-1334/ Cell:firstname.lastname@example.org