We Help Us: Thoughts on Brutal Border Patrol Tactics and Autonomy

The images are indeed horrifying. History is repeating itself in Texas. Whites on horses armed with whips are attacking black people. The Biden Administration paid careful lip service to the situation this morning. Falling short of actually saying they were going to do something about it, the President’s representatives offered that they would talk about the images with others in the administration. Nothing about that is promising or comforting, but it’s certainly revealing. Public officials can express “horror” about a situation to humanize themselves, while remaining dehumanized and entirely systemic.

What this reveals is that it is up to us to keep helping one another. We help us. We can’t rely on any government or administration to do that work for us. Trump, Biden, and whoever comes next, each might have their benefits and differences but at the end of the day, we disempower ourselves when we put power in the hands of those who aren’t connected to us and who have no real reason to help. Their priority isn’t on people. Its on political maneuvering with the least possible collateral damage.

Haiti freed itself from slavery and has been paying the price for it for two hundred years. The events this week in Texas are not isolated. They are the result of a historical lineage and mindset which sees Haitians as second class humans, worthy of scorn and revenge for what they did to upend racism in the early 1800’s. One only read the historical record, statements from congressmen in the USA in the 1830’s to see that virulent hatred was flowing through our government, and directed at the people of Haiti. We cannot wait for salvation from the very people who threaten, ignore, and actively work against our friends.

This is why we do the work we do: it is all in response to Haitian people, listening to them, supporting development projects that lead to immediate change for them. And we are growing our goals with them regularly, waiting for no one, expecting no help to come in terms of governmental substantive shifts in policy or human rights that might benefit us. The fact is that the US Government doesn’t much care about Haiti. So we need to do it ourselves. We don’t work with mights. We don’t wait for maybe’s. We listen to our neighbors, we hear what their needs are, and we get things done.

(Photo: Paul Ratje / AFP – Getty Images)