Every other day, when I peek in at Haiti, my heart starts beating fast… I click through pictures, and I read “nearly 200,000 dead.” And I try to imagine: What would Oakland (where I live now), or Flushing, NY (where I grew up), look like if there were upwards of 200,000 dead people lying in the streets?
I close the screen.
I am once again overwhelmed by that bewildering feeling that I had a little more than four years ago, when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. My heart broke then, while I, along with the rest of the world, watched as thousands lost their lives in the aftermath. Ironically, I was on the Island of Hispaniola at the time, though not in Haiti, but rather in the east, on a family vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
I am not naïve. So I do not expect for any pre-existing bias held previously toward the nation of Haiti to have magically disappeared because disaster struck. Thanks to the same journalists who report the news, while simultaneously making claims of objectivity, we are reminded, time and again that there are still so many of them (and if we are honest, there are still so many of us), who are blinded by variable levels of xenophobia and racism.