Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
Haitian Vodou history reads like a laundry list of religious co-option. The United States occupation from 1915 to 1934 gave rise to Hollywood caricatures. During the Catholic campaigns against “superstition” in the 1940s, Vodou objects and temples were destroyed, leaders were forced to convert or go to prison, and Protestant missionaries swept in. Then came Vodou’s perversion by François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who took power in the late 1950s, assumed the persona of Baron Samedi (a malevolent Vodou deity) and recruited Vodou priests and secret societies to support his bloody campaign. When Duvalier’s son Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” was deposed in 1986, thousands of Vodou followers were killed in retaliation for their connection to him.
Lozis wends her way to the 2010 earthquake, which killed an estimated 220,000 people and affected millions more. “After the earthquake, do you know what happened? Vodou was blamed for causing it! All these Christians started coming to Haiti with the idea of helping, and put a lot of trash into people’s minds about Vodou. And people believed them. People who practised Vodou were killed. And now people spend a lot of time praying to get rid of Satan instead of putting together their strength and making the situation better,” she scoffs.
Lozis believes that the influx of missionaries after the earthquake pressed Vodou further underground. Just a month after the disaster, the Baptist Press reported that 40,127 Haitians made professions of faith in Jesus Christ and that the Florida Baptist Convention spent $53,000 to purchase Bibles and tracts for Haiti-wide crusades.
Today, evangelical groups own three of the 10 most popular radio stations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s largest city. Radio is a key source of communication in a country whose literacy rate hovers around 50 percent. Christian organizations also control humanitarian aid and access to medicine, while international private schools and church-run schools educate 90 percent of Haiti’s students.
But wearing a cross doesn’t necessarily mean trading in the sacred rattle. Vodou is a syncretic religion, originally a blend of African traditions. Its porous nature makes it well suited to adaptation. During slavery, Vodou lwas were disguised as Catholic saints: Legba (the first lwa invoked in a Vodou ceremony because he is the gateway to other lwas) was recast as St. Peter (the keeper of keys at the Pearly Gate); Loko (the guardian of the worship space) was modelled into St. Joseph (the protector of Jesus). There’s a maxim: Haiti is 80 percent Catholic, 20 percent Protestant and 100 percent Vodou."
That korean post is not the first time that one, the US participates in illegal, harmful adoptions from POC nations. It kinda happens a lot. Like during the earthquake in Haiti were people were adopting and shipping out children who’s parents were looking for them all over the place, some thinking they were dead. And two, where people, again usually white, defend this stuff.
The assumption that the POC children will be better in America with a white family is just mind boggling. How dare you think that their parent’s are unfit with no bases? I am all for getting children into safe homes but stealing children is fucked up and ILLEGAL!
And you think the fetishing couldn’t get better. We actually have a term, designer babies, for people who adopt Asian or African children and show them off like handbags. You dehumanizing shit stains.
"Why aren’t these teenagers giving their babies up?!" one blogger whines. "Why don’t they just send all of the Haitian children to America for adoption?!" another posts. "Praise God, the Birth Mother’s rights have been terminated!" an infertility/adoption loss newsletter (published by Bethany Christian Services) proclaims.
Agency websites I have perused tell women that their children deserve two-parent homes (failing to mention that adoptive parents are not magically impervious to the astounding divorce rate) among other various misleading things about single-parenthood. It seems like everywhere you turn, someone has something questionable to say about adoption and the children of single/impoverished women.
A Racialious article commenter summed it up thusly: “Is it the responsibility of an adoptive parent to support the poor so that they don’t have to give up their children? No. If they’re given up for adoption, we adopt them.”
The idea that others are not entitled to help resolving their poverty because it’s not the responsibility of anyone else to help them is called the Human Capital Theory (Healy, J., Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Class, 2008, p. 55). The Human Capital Theory says that those who are impoverished experience their poverty and disenfranchisement as a result of the individual not working hard enough or being motivated enough to achieve and produce what society values. It ignores the context of a person’s life and ignores the real, root causes of why many are in poverty and cannot pull themselves out of it.
So, why this hostility toward these women? Why the anger towards women who give birth and cannot afford their babies and why is there such a desire for them to ‘do the right thing’ and give their babies to affluent couples?
Sociologically speaking, the Scapegoat Hypothesis (Healy, 2008, p. 109) says that those who feel a high level of anger and resentment may direct their anger on a minority in the form of prejudice or discrimination. Directing anger at or wishing loss upon (or celebrating the loss of) a poor woman who is pregnant is an overt form of Classism and Sexism.
A society that adopts out the children of mothers who are willing to parent but are languishing in poverty, is a society that perpetuates Classism and Sexism.
- Amanda Woolston, author of The Declassified Adoptee
Woolston is a white privileged domestic American adoptee, and one of the more famous public advocates for adoption reform. Unsurprisingly, she often fails to directly cite the perpetuation of racism and even ethnocide as they intersect with the classist, sexist paradigms of the adoption industry, which is why I’ve highlighted this point via title.
As previously documented, children who are black constitute only 17 percent of the youth population in the U.S, yet make up 42 percent of all children in foster care nationwide. The consequences of this systemic “harvesting” of children once imposed beyond national borders upon poor families of color who further lack the privilege of American/”First World” citizenship becomes veritably catastrophic.