Where is Haiti?

Posted: February 4, 2010 by bshockle in Editorial/Commentary

by Bobby Shockley

Following the tragic events in Haiti, the world mobilized to provide support to this tiny nation. Although I have no issue with the outpouring of altruism, I have a question: Where is Haiti? You see, prior to this event, many in the world had no idea about what was going on in Haiti and even fewer really cared.

My question does not center on the geographical location of this nation, but where it was in our consciousness. Relatively few outside of the NGO’s that provide support to this poverty stricken nation concerned themselves with the plight of the people, its infrastructure or its economic condition. Now it seems that it’s all that people can talk about.

Much of what is occurring is now centered on the question “how will we help the children?” Many are talking of adopting children from Haiti and in fact, ten Americans are sitting in jail for allegedly trying to steal children away from Haiti in order to adopt them. I find this troubling since we have children here in America who are in need of loving homes and no one is concerned about their circumstances. The larger question here is “Why do we, as a nation, seemed more concerned about those outside of our borders than those similarly situated within?”

Some estimates site that there are over 400,000 children in the American foster care system. With this number of American children needing assistance, how could anyone consciously look at adopting children from anywhere else?

I am by no means an isolationist, but at what point do we begin to put America first and everyone else second, third and fourth?

  1. Linda says:

    You’ve expressed my own feelings so eloquently. Charity begins at home…thank you for your thoughtful words…

  2. Aaron says:

    At what point do we begin to realize that our struggle is everyone’s struggle writ large? Your essay made perfect sense to me until I reached the end–global social justice and domestic social justice at inextricably intertwined.

    In a way, you’re right–by understanding the mechanisms of inequality in our own society we can better understand them abroad. But I suspect that the lessons we learn from that investigation will not be that hording wealth is the answer…quite the reverse I should think.

  3. SouthernGirl2 says:

    Hey D,


    Shanti is honoring black men for Valentine. Come show her some love.


  4. The Posh Miss says:

    I believe that when we stop worrying about other countries, that is when America will collapse. I think we are allowed to be in power because we do reach out to support other nations. Do I think we should also take care of home? Of course. Do I also realize an orphan in Haiti is worse off than an orphan in America? Yes, I do. Orphans in America cannot compare to that of a third world country. When I adopt, I do believe it will be an American child, but I understand the urgency put on nations like Haiti to give those children a chance. People come here with NOTHING and can become millionaires. You cannot do that in any other country.


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