DCP 83 Why Black Americans Should Care About Haiti: Marcia L. Dyson
Transcribed by Taji Senior
October 1, 2021
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:00:03] Welcome to Dear Culture, the podcast that gives you news you can trust with the culture. I’m your co-host, Gerren Keith Gaynor, Managing Editor at theGrio,.
Shana Pinnock [00:00:11] And I’m your co-host, Shana Pinnock, Social Media Director at theGrio and this week, we’re asking, Dear Culture, what do we do about the crisis at the border?
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:00:27] So, Shana, before we dove into this week’s episode, please tell me what’s been on your mind this week?
Shana Pinnock [00:00:38] We would be remiss if we did not bring up Robert. I believe his middle name is Sylvester Kelly, who in a win for women of sexual assault, violence, abuse, domestic violence, it was a win, R. Kelly, after 20, 30 plus years of being a pretty well known predator. And I don’t got to say allegedly because he’s convicted.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:01:09] This is this is true. He is officially convicted.
Shana Pinnock [00:01:13] I don’t got to say allegedly about it, he was found guilty on all charges in his I believe it’s a federal case, but it was here in New York. And he Cheesus, he got he got pinched for racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnaping, bribery, sex trafficking, like a slew of crazy. And for me, I felt so very happy for the women and girls that he had abused, taken advantage of and did just really terrible, disgusting, inhumane things to my heart breaks that Aliyah isn’t around for her own justice. My heart still breaks for people like Sparkle. You know, who was the she was his protege and he violated her niece to now even to this day, someone like 20 years later, Sparkle’s doesn’t have any relationship whatsoever with that niece who is suspected that R. Kelly and his team paid off Sparkle’s sister and brother in law to basically keep that child silent as well as really I mean, hell, they were still going to our Kelly concerts and all this other stuff. And I believe that Sparkle said in her, she did a piece just as soon as the news broke with I believe it’s the cut where she said any time when she’s tried to bring up our Kelly to her sister, all her sister would say is like, God forgives. Girl, but what I find myself very angry about still and frustrated are the people that allowed him to do this for so long. And I’m not just talking about like his handlers and managers and all this other stuff I’m talking about, like even us, you know, like and the hell not us, because I was a child when this happened. But you know what I mean? Like adults who watch this, who made jokes about it, like and yes, I laughed at the piss on you video from Dave Chappelle. It was funny, but watching it now you’re just like, nah, bro, like this, that that that wasn’t the time for this. You know, the the moment he was out here telling to say, well, wow, what do you define as teenage? What what what are you talking about? We all saw it. We all saw it. And what my only hope is that. This is a moment in society of a couple of days, one where we see something at the onset and we acknowledge that it is irresponsible, at the very least, we acknowledge that something in the water ain’t clean. At the very least, this is you know, I’m going to bring somebody up. You know, Drake, there have been a few questionable acquaintances, acquainted ships that he’s had with minor people. And so which I’ve been like something in the water and clean air, we should probably nip that in the bud sooner than later. We need to, as a society, as a culture, be able to hold, especially those of us in our culture that are doing harm. Like I’m not here to protect Black men. I’m not here to protect Black women. If you are out here doing Jaffari in the culture and in what we’re supposed to be doing, like that man is incredibly talented. But you know what? He’s an incredibly talented convicted abuser. Hmm. How about that? And let’s acknowledge that. And let’s also let’s also stop acting like. Oh, yeah, well, I can separate the art from the artist and all this other stuff. Can you can you really? Because half on a baby is where he said you’re talking about impregnate like a 14, 15 year old. So you sure you good with that age ain’t nothing but a no. It’s cool with you, but that’s fine also for them silly broads. And this is what I mean. I wrote an article, an op ed not too long ago about aunties who sometimes still do harm, writes of the older, seasoned Black women of our generation who still do harm outside of the courthouse. After the conviction, there were several women, Arkley supporters who are like, well, you know, well, Jesus says the answer is, you know, he’s Jesus is not dead yet. R. Kelly and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Y’all are disgusting and you need help. And I would pray that you get to go to therapy and go ahead and, like, fix whatever that is that’s inside of you, number one. Number two, you’re too old. R. Kelly is not going to smash you. But guess what about you, Jim? What are your thoughts?
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:06:12] Leave it to to have some quip that, you know, this whole thing, Shonna, it’s really it’s been triggering for me personally, because I am a victim of child sexual abuse. And I know that this is a very complicated like you mentioned, you know, other artists who had been seemingly having relationships, friendships with girls who are under age. And this is sociological to like let’s not forget that men used to be legally allowed to marry girls. And so we’re talking about a world in which men have been allowed to do things that we know now is wrong. And it’s almost disbelieving that even in recent decades, when R. Kelly was very clearly a pedophile, how we as a society and maybe not us individually were able to look past a very clear red flags, that something’s wrong here. And it makes me wonder, what if the meta movement didn’t happen? Like what if Donald Trump wasn’t elected and it didn’t create this surge of women’s standing up and saying enough is enough? And so I’m so thankful to see that as a society, as an American society, at least, we are seeing a wave, a shift going on when we talk about protecting women and protecting children. And for me, you know, I’m not sure like, yes, I think that him being convicted, that is just but as a victim myself, like I’ve had conversations with my therapist in the past about what what do I want from my personal experience? Do I want to see my abuser behind bars? Is it going to make me feel better? And some will argue like silly. Abrams wrote an op ed for The Grio talking about restorative justice and how maybe navigating through this very complicated conversation about restorative justice and whether or not that is effective for victims, because when someone is convicted and sent to prison, you’re still the victims are still hurt. They’re not necessarily restored. By seeing that happen, some people will say, I feel somewhat justice seeing my abuser go behind bars. But I think it goes it runs deeper than that. It hits you in on a psychological, emotional, spiritual level that I’m not sure a conviction can truly heal. And, you know, my heart really goes out to all of our Kelly’s victims, and I hope that they can find some type of peace. But I know that that’s going to be probably a. Life long journey, and let’s not forget that R. Kelly himself was a victim of child sexual abuse as well, and as a victim myself and seeing the stark difference between someone like me and someone like R. Kelly, it makes you wonder how does someone become a monster like that? And, you know, I don’t know. But I do know that there’s data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one in four girls and one in 13 boys experienced sexual abuse. The reality is that we don’t know why some people end up being monsters and some people don’t. But I do hope I actually, as a as a person of faith, I would say I do pray that R. Kelly finds healing himself. It doesn’t mean that I think that he should not be behind bars. I do have complicated opinions and feelings around prison because some people have said openly, I think that it was just. But seeing a Black man go to prison still makes me feel some type of way. And so this this doesn’t end with this conviction, not for these victims and certainly not for us as as a society, because I don’t think that we are I think we’re just scratching the surface, honestly, when when addressing child sexual abuse. And how do we as a society respond to that?
Shana Pinnock [00:10:24] You’re as you’re always so Zen. And so just just you’re just such a sweetie. Oh, my gosh. Because for me and I, my thoughts on prison are they’re not that complicated, honestly. I mean, there’s there’s certain things that are they combat one another because, you know, there are plenty of innocent Black, Black and brown people behind bars. There are plenty of Black and brown people, especially, who have been victim to the prison system because of the systemic racism. One and two, just because there’s this prison is supposed to be rehabilitated. Right. I, though, have an issue with predators in general, and I understand our Keli’s issues, and he allegedly was molested by a family member and there was a man in the neighborhood who did so as well, like a female family member and a man in the neighborhood who did so as well. And like his mother, took a permit to not press charges against this man or, you know, to not pursue any kind of legal recourse with this man who did this thing to her son. So I get it. How R. Kelly, that could have worked his love map in general of you know. Well, it can’t because in my mind, I’m like, if he were to really take a moment to sit and think like what I’m doing is wrong, well, then that means that what my mother did was wrong and that I wasn’t cared enough for to not take money, you know, whatever. But even still, there are some predators that I just don’t believe that can be rehabilitated. And if R. Kelly really thought that what he was doing wasn’t wrong, he wouldn’t have gone to the lengths that he went to to do them and to hide his secrets. So for me and just the idea of predators in general, I’m. I understand the horrors that he dealt with, but that does not mean that you are allowed to inflict those same horrors upon other people. But I would, you know, good luck to them, I guess is the best I have. But let’s actually pivot away. You know, since we’re talking about horrors, let’s talk about the horrors that we’ve been seeing unfolding at the Texas border. You know, over the past few weeks, thousands of Haitian migrants seeking asylum here in the U.S. are not only being turned away and deported, but also subjected to inhumane conditions and treatment by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Adding insult to injury is the fact that after denouncing Trump policies on immigration, the Biden Harris administration is now using some of the same logic and policies to turn migrants away while we may be separated by water. Make no mistake, Black folks here in the US are connected to Haitians in struggle and in culture. To help us dig into that a little bit deeper, Jared and I will be joined by Marcia L. Dyson, a global social activist, former cultural ambassador to Haiti and consultant for the Clinton Foundation on the Haitian rehabilitation campaign. We’re so excited to talk with her in just a bit.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:13:47] You know, Sean, I can’t get the the images, the videos of Border Patrol officers whipping and verbally abusing Haitian migrants at the Delario border, and it’s really ignited this national and international conversation around how we treat America, treats Black migrants at the border and and how generally we see immigrants in this country. And I know once your culture, you have often talked about being the daughter of immigrants. And I want to ask you, as we begin to have this conversation about Haiti, what did that what impact did those images have on you? And how does it make you feel as a as a daughter of an immigrant?
Shana Pinnock [00:14:41] Well, you’re absolutely right. I come from Jamaican and Guyanese people and. Funny enough, and I’ve asked my parents about like they’re like migration stories, who really my my mom was a teenager when she came to this country about 18, 19. My father was a kid. My grandmother actually came here on her own around 17, 18 and built an entire life for herself. And I’ve asked them kind of their thoughts on what they’ve seen in terms of those images. And they’ve been disgusted. And they’re like, you know what the crazy part is? When they were coming in, in the what was it, some 60s, 70s? They’re like, funny enough, it was a lot easier, a whole lot easier to get to this country than it is right now. I think watching that as just a Black person in this in these United States in general is so par for the course, I wasn’t surprised. We’ve seen so I think we’ve even reported here at the Grio there was a story about there were there were police officers who were chasing a man and who hogtied him and were like dragging him by horse through whatever fields. It’s not surprising at all what I have found surprising. Our white people’s reactions to it, I think that’s been probably one of the most illuminating thing. The heartbreaking part is most Black people myself, my parents, you know, migrants, General, weren’t all that weren’t all that surprised that we weren’t we surprised at all. But the white folks who were just like, oh, my God, look at this. And are we really this way? Yes. Have you not been paying attention? Is George Floyd is the same thing as what we’re seeing right now. And it was very triggering. I, quite frankly, had to turn it off. I’ve actually been really disappointed by how the Biden Harris administration has been handling this and then turn around and say, oh, yeah, we’re going to we’re going to stop, you know, we’re not going to have them the Wrangel people up with horses. So the horses were the problem not to be OK. Gotcha. I see how that works. But what about you? What about, like, those images? I know you’ve been doing your own original reporting and trying to get answers from the White House. What have you how have you been impacted and what have you been learning so far?
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:17:30] Yes. So I made my debut as a as an acting White House correspondent. I went to the press briefing originally last week. And at that press briefing, the Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, we thought that he was going to give an announcement about the conclusion of this investigation into what happened in Del Rio. But he instead said that basically it’s ongoing, but it would be it would end quickly. He gave an update in terms of like how many Haitians have been deported, how many Haitians are currently still being processed. And he actually thanked and and bigged up CBP for all their service and work, which was very off-putting for a lot of Black people, because what we saw was was egregious. Right. And so I spoke to some Black advocacy immigration groups because they actually filed a formal letter of complaint to DHS, this Office of Civil Rights and Civil Complaints. And in this complaint, they have a list of violations that go way beyond what we saw in those pictures, in those videos. And they’re basically so some of those violations where they didn’t have enough interpreters there to help migrants communicate their stories so they can seek asylum. They were they were obviously physically and verbally abuse. They didn’t allow legal advocates on the ground to help them to get access to migrants. They had pamphlets that were printed out in Creole and French and different languages so that so that they can tell them what their rights are. And so there are a lot of there are a lot of accusations of injustices going on at the border. And now because of these these violations, they’re asking the administration to not only halt deportations and expelling of Haitian and other African migrants, because it’s not that there weren’t just Haitian migrants at that border. They’re also asking that they bring back migrants to the US because they’re saying that because the the DHS and ICE violated their own policy, which is basically to have a more humane to have a humane policy when dealing with migrants and immigrants, that because some of these migrants were were victims and witnesses to abuses and that they didn’t get their just due. And so they are for now just asking to speak to DHS so that so that they can and asking for these asked like bringing back migrants and halting deportations. And obviously, we know that Haitian migrants have been deported using Tigo 40 to which the Trump administration instituted. It is not immigration policy is actually a public health policy. So because it called it to protect the migrants themselves and protect Americans, title forty two has been is still in place. And so this is really ongoing. I went to the White House this week trying to ask Press Secretary Jen Psaki what the I mean, if the administration got word of this letter and will they adhere to these aske she did not call them an and despite Jen Psaki telling me on Twitter last week that she would call on me and I would get my questions asked. She did not call on me. And I have a hunch that my report over the weekend about these Black advocacy groups filing this complaint has something to do with it. But these these advocacy groups are like, if we don’t get our ass met, we will explore other options and it may be legal options. So I’m paying close attention to what’s happening. This is. Not going away, and I know that advocates and activists and especially the Grio and other Black media outlets and Black journalists are not going to let the administration skirt past this because this is a much larger issue about immigration and how we how we treat Black immigrants in particular. So we’ll see what happens. But it’s it’s what’s clear is that something needs to change and that there are clear issues with our immigration policies. And so even though Trump is not in office, we’re still seeing humanitarian violations. And that speaks to a systematic issue. And with that said, there’s so much to understand about the US’s relationship with Haiti and how we got to this point, luckily we are joined by someone who is a bit of an expert on this subject and has dedicated a large part of her professional life to cultivating aid and support for Haiti. Marcia El Diesen is the president of Marsia El Dyson LLC, an exclusive national and international consultancy firm. Diesen is also the founder of Women’s Global Institue LLC and the author of the forthcoming book, A Memoir of a Grown Ass Woman. Marcia, welcome to The Culture. Is such a pleasure to have you.
Speaker 3 [00:22:37] Thank you for having me.
Shana Pinnock [00:22:39] Thank you for being here, so I kind of just want to jump right in, there are a lot of our listeners and I can even speak for myself who are not as well versed, I’ll say, and all of the history and issues as it relates to Haitian migrants and just the United States relationship with Haiti in general. Can you give us and our listeners some context around why we’re seeing this surge of Haitian migrants now? And what role has the United States played in creating this this crisis?
Marcia L. Dyson [00:23:14] And we only have 30 minutes. I know. Well, first of all, the migrants they came to Del Rio in the past week were really refugees who had escaped Haiti and I call it escape after the assassination of the former president. Right. And also, they were also hit with a hurricane and an earthquake. So there were three catastrophic events that happened in Haiti which sent the refugees not initially to the borders of Del Rio, but to South America, particularly the country of Chile, because I have people on my Instagram asking me what this is an and how did they end up going get over there to Central America, get into Mexico? And I’m saying they migrated to Chile for safe refuge. And the way I see it is almost like a Juneteenth scenario. Why the Haitians at the very end are the ones at the border. I imagine that they were reading the news because or watching their cell phones or some information that two hundred thousand people indiscriminately were at the border of the United States and they stopped making their tracks. So that’s the reason to me. They were the last in at the border and the first ones to be vilified and dehumanized, as we have never seen before, without any leaders crying and doing photo ops about the situation until the social activists are raising the righteous indignation and hell at that border.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:24:47] OK, OK. And Marcia, you know, the gorilla has been following this this story for for over a week now. And I’ve even done some original reporting on this. And when the images and the video of of Border Patrol officers mishandling mistreating Haitians and I’m saying is treading lightly, it was very triggering for many Black Americans. And I think it’s really important for us to connect the dots between what is going on with Haitian and African migrants and Black Americans. What do you why should we see this as a Black American issue and not just a Black immigrant issue?
Marcia L. Dyson [00:25:27] Let’s get right to the answer: Racism. Even in1994, when I was at Brown University, there was an issue with Haitian immigrants coming over based upon some discord within the country. There was always a push by Cubans were able to come over and from the rescue, a refuge, even though it was difficult. Think of Elian Gonzalez. There has been no Haitian Black child who has been given a national attention and public recognition of the demise that they face in their particular country. And when we look at the history of Haiti, first of all, we have to understand there is a there was a systematic plan for Haiti, and that was by every white person to whom they touch with their revolution to undermine them and to remind Blacks everywhere in the world that we are going to punish you because you do not use Caesar’s or Napoleon’s valor of war to win your liberation, which was frightening. And that would be amazing to most people when you think how small Haiti is in the scheme of things. But it is basically there is a plan that I wish I could pull up for you, but I will make sure that you have that that says what you have to do to Haiti. Remember, Haiti, most people think just beat the French. That is not true. Right. And it wasn’t just to sort of a tour. But they beat the British and Spain and they beat, of course, the French. And that was a big slap back to Europeans. And people also have to remember that because of them winning against Napoleon, that America, better than pushing them back, left them in the same area that way our government was able to purchase called the Louisiana territory. You would think that the first immigrants that expanded our nation would be the first ones allowed in, and that was because of the Haitians valor of war. But the racisms and blatant what? Even when I worked for a president foundation right after the earthquake in 2010, I raised hell because it was supposed to be the rehabilitation of Haiti. And my thought was that Haitians should definitely be part of their rebuilding of their country. In fact, we held that meeting at a hotel. Well, there were 60 percent destroyed, we to European American standards for earthquake stability by Haitians and no Haitian was let in the room and I raised hell with that president and broke off on that because it was blatant racism and gave him a stack high of qualified Haitians who could rebuild that country, who was in that room. Every rich white person you may know around the world from Canada, Japan, Italy, France, Europe, even Carlos Slim, who at that point was the wealthiest man in the world from Mexico who lived in Mexico City. And I wanted to make sure that a Haitian and even the poor, the African-Americans, I want to make sure that we had a chance to extend our humanity as well as benefit from the stabilization of Haiti. But what really pissed me off to show you, there was racism when I was on a congressional delegation and you stop me and ask questions, I’m on a roll here with years of going up towards the border of the D.R. and I’m on with the head of the USAID. That entity is supposed to help serve n’goni Haiti, but other countries in crisis. Right. And this woman tells me and I’m outside Chicago and she’s going to get us thow, says Pimp Slap. She was said you could put a trillion dollars in Haiti and not get anything out of Haiti. Now we are going up the cliff. You have been on Highway one in California going up and you see in the ocean you want to throw somebody up. But I want to lay up and tell the story. But that’s how I felt about it, because it’s how we give the money. We have given millions or billions and billions of dollars to Haiti. But how do we do it? The rich white people and a lot of them from our government go over there with their friends and they build off the poverty. They give them charcoal potties, right? They give them no infrastructure, so, of course, Haiti would not grow. And I think that when we look at what happened to Israel in the Arab Arab land, they could rebuild an infrastructure, even Las Vegas. Right. And why how come Haiti has not been given that infrastructure, given the billions of dollars that we have given them, because they want to keep them poor. They want to keep them in chaos. And that is all, to me, the part of racism. And disproportionally, Haiti has over ten thousand nonprofits, which is per capita more than any other place in the world, because people take advantage of Americans relationships with nonprofits, that you can raise a billion dollars, but by law you’re only entitled to really give five to 10 percent. That’s why Haiti is always poor. That’s what corrupts its leadership. But that’s also a slap in the face of the people. Come to the Calvary as a Calvary to Haiti, while there is really the continuation destruction around earthquakes because the instability of the partners and that sustainability and deliverability.
Shana Pinnock [00:30:34] Listen, you’re already I have my next question was kind of alluded to it already was working with the Clinton Foundation on the Haitian rehabilitation campaign. And thank you. Like you broke it down, sister, you know, because I think so many of us, especially after the earthquake and everything else, and you’re like, there’s this Red Cross and there’s all these organizations that are collecting money. Everyone’s collecting money. But none of these Haitians have seen those funds. I guess one of my questions would be, what can we do just as regular regular folks in helping victims who have empathy and who have just a connection to this country simply by the fact that we’re seeing other Black people having to endure this, having to go through this. What can a layperson I’ll say, what can we do to help to help the Haitian community in the country of Haiti?
Marcia L. Dyson [00:31:30] First of all, keep them on watch with our government, who in the past have not, like I said, done well with them. I remember when cholera broke out, I was in Haiti and at that time it was well past the earthquake and Haiti was promised one point four dollars billion. They never saw it. I went personally to a Middle Eastern embassy when I found out that they were going to donate ten million dollars to Haiti and found out that they gave it to the Clinton Foundation. Right. And the ambassador told me that they only got like 10 percent of that money. And I was furious about that. So I think the thing that we can do is what we did in the aftermath of seeing them in Del Rio, like with Reverend Sharpton, with Tamika, who did bring some items with her and not just her social activism for photo op and other individuals. It’s like keeping watch over the people because they are us. I’ve traveled everywhere that Black people are in this world, from Brazil to the continent of Africa. But when I think about Black pride, it really is in Haiti. What I will go to Haiti any given day because you remember who we are. The people are resilient. It’s not just my prayers. I mean, three hundred thousand people died in thirty five seconds and not a push off of the three thousand who died in 9/11. But everybody had to go get therapy. Can you imagine? And without modern equipment to see these people digging with their hands, with inferior equipment, trying to get these squashed bodies out and to rebuild their lives is a testament of strength that we must have, who we say we are and strong Black people in America. We can take a lesson to see just how strong we are by going to visit Haiti. Right. And it’s not just poor Haiti. I tell the African leaderships and other leaders in Black countries, there’s nothing poor about any country that has a resources that are natural or they’re mineral based. Right. It is governance like it where where it is anywhere else. Now, surely Haiti had a long Black leadership. Any other country by even the African countries are just celebrating more than are less than 70 years of liberation and Haiti more. But because of the push by France that they were just allowed not to pay reparations for them being free, can you imagine that? We want reparations for slavery and France want the Haitians to pay them because they lost money because of their produce lost and the blood of dollars and labor. So the best thing that we can do is what we do here is to keep them on alert. The photo ops gone may die down in Del Rio, but the people are still under that bridge. They were deported faster than a speeding bullet. Why is that? So when we talk. About immigration and policies, you know, I’m a humanitarian and I understand and travel in the world from the Middle East all over that every country has borders, right? But because we are supposed to have this humanitarian heart with a flux of two hundred thousand people, that was before I got in without the whips and horses all of a sudden disappearing, it was fine. But when the Black people showed up, the Haitian people showed up. I call that border in equity. Either we’re going to have border equity or we set firm our immigrations policies good, better ugly that everyone would face. And there’s a format to which they have to apply. And right now, I think because of the devastation, the triple effect of the hurricane, assassination and an earthquake that they had, that Haitians should be the first on the list. If we’re going to let anybody in this country, not just because they’re Black, but when you look at the
Shana Pinnock [00:35:19] circumstances of why they’re fleeing,
Marcia L. Dyson [00:35:21] the country is in chaos. Right. They’ve had natural disasters and they still haven’t recovered mostly from even 2010 earthquake.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:35:31] And you know, Marcia, I spoke to an advocate. She works for UndocuBlack network. Her name is Briane Palmer and she said that she hopes that what happened at Del Rio and the attention that it got nationally and internationally, that it will bring attention to immigration in a way where we look at it as not just an immigration issue in general, but a Black issue. And so often when we talk about immigration in America, Black and African migrants are immigrants are not a part of that conversation. But also immigration continues to be the thing that that the can that gets kicked down the road where every session in Congress, there are promises that we have to make changes to our immigration policy and nothing gets done. Congress is in a gridlock right now. How do we hold our elected officials accountable and ensure that we actually do have a policy that actually works
Marcia L. Dyson [00:36:28] We have some of our activists who are very close to congressional members, But like I said, when we place somebody on the Hill, particularly, we have given them the precious value of our vote. They are not our kings and queens, our prince and princesses. And let me be straight, no chaser. I tell people I have no relatives on the hill. I have no Uncle Sam or any aunties. I have servants. And I expect for them to serve and do the will of the people. And most of those individuals got in with the Black vote. And so surely as a Black most Black folks are, we are concerned about all of our fellow citizens, but that because there seem to be this doorstopper when it comes to anything Black in this country, not in immigration, but voting rights and so on and so forth, then if you’re going to make about tribalism, then let me talk about my tribe and I am unapologetic about that. So we have to keep raising the noise. Any body who’s at that border. Right, and who is deported should be a reason for a call if other people are getting in. And we have to also have some of our individuals who are very expert in foreign policy and immigration laws to help us to write those things, something that I’m talking to some other fellow social activists. So if you don’t have a plan, let us give you a plan. And let me say this, too, because I’ve worked with presidents on Haiti and because I’ve seen what other presidents have done in Haiti and have enriched themselves, and because I’ve seen how every congressional administration or presidential administration has not done well with Haiti. It’s not that it’s Democrats or Republican, it’s just across the board, which is amazing to me. So it’s not like it’s around a party divide. It’s just the solid Black. We hate Haiti. Haiti doesn’t matter to us. And that’s what we must address with both parties.
Shana Pinnock [00:38:22] And so, like, I think for me, again, as a lay person who’s not really super well versed in all of these international relations, but again, just watching a lot of the images that we saw, you know, even from people’s things, just like not even label, just thrown and strewn about, which was just another slap in the face. But then you’re also hearing, you know, but this country is is and really this administration has pledged to allow Afghans to come into this country because they’re fleeing the Taliban and all of this other stuff. How would you like to personally see this? The Biden Harris administration, like what are their first, I don’t know, two to three steps of addressing this crisis and let’s get some broader equity going where it’s you know, let’s and let’s not just ignore the Black folks. If you really mean and we’re we’re maybe leaning towards the brown ones, like, come on. Like, what are we doing?
Marcia L. Dyson [00:39:25] But when we saw and this is no different, like I said, I’m concerned as a global citizen about all of God’s children, right. And I do do work in the Middle East. In fact, I’m part of a coalition of help where we actually rescued some of the individuals that this administration left behind. Over fifteen hundred people still there in the country at the same time, working on alleviate some of the woes of the Haitians who were suffering inside the country, who did not come along that track to Del Rio. Right. So what we have to basically, you know, realize that we’re all tied to the ship together, right? And I tell people that our foreign policies dictate our domestic policy, so we shouldn’t be surprised that domestically Blacks are always behind the eight ball and so are Haitian immigrants. But when we see that you can Afghani’s in and they have their Taliban will, unfortunately, I’m from the city of Chicago straight no chaser. There’s more shooting in Chicago by us to us. And, you know, and all Black Lives Matter shouldn’t have to be just because of the blue is on the Black and blue. And it’s something I’ve worked on every since nineteen eighty five to get us to have this tribal accord or trysting among ourselves. So yeah. So if you can do it for the Afghanis then you should be able to do it for the Haitians. And now that our vice president went to Atlanta right around the hate of the Asians, and this is no affront to that situation. The next week there was some sort of belal act. There was something that was given this. You kind of felt you had some form of banner while at the same time we have to continue to watch. Do we still have our voting rights here in America? So all I can say is that everybody has to be an activist. I would tell my students at Fisk, where I teach a class on global citizen, global leadership and culture diplomacy that we used to say back in my day about the butterfly effect. It sounds so nice that the butterfly wings fluttering. But right now we have some dragon wings and they are spewing fire and violent winds. And we will all be impacted if we do not harness this energy of love, you know, for one another. And to see Black people, not as just the poor, poor Black folks will see our humanity. And I think that that’s a lack that people just don’t see our humanity. And a lot of the Haitians to not only that, they have their belongings thrown down and unlabeled. Some of them may have been out of the country for a very long time, waiting for an opportunity to come to America. So they went back to Haiti. Right. It’s like I’ll go back to South Chicago. I don’t know this place anymore. And that’s what they are saying to and I’m quite sure they didn’t have enough interpreters there for people who speak Creole and not French. So it just showed, again, our concern. And I was furious at the Johnny-Come-Lately attitude toward this administration. And even though they say that they’re going to investigate, the press secretary going to investigate it. So I went on Twitter as the irreverent woman that I am said this. What happened was it got this late. They came they were pushed back. And all of a sudden, like a wild, Wild West movie, they were covered by, you know, surrounded by cover wagons, were surrounded by the people with wood on horses and whips. Someone said, well, they weren’t whips, they were rings. Well, my mother, you know, she would be kind of put in jail now. She used to take a clothesline and whip us right up to word is whip is the apparatus, is the motion. And it’s just the bit I was triggered. I mean, I was triggered by what we imagine at a mine. And for those who watch those films on slavery and those who have gone to those places in America where we’ve seen it, I was triggered by it. And to see these children crying, I remember, you know, with some of the Middle East situations where they show the child bloated, bloated bodies on a shore to see these Black babies crying. I know that that’s going to scar their minds even more. So, again, I’m raising hell. We have to raise hell because that’s the only thing that can get attention safely with any administration. Right, is to continue to raise hell. Do not be so distracted by these other weapons of mass destruction distraction that we forget the people of Haiti because they may be all the news, but their circumstance is continuous.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:43:54] You know, you mentioned those images and how it triggered you. And I can’t help but think, what if the media was not there to capture those images? We wouldn’t even be having this conversation at the White House right now. Which makes me want to ask you, do you think this is a systematic problem within CBP and ICE in these eight these US agencies? So because it seems like no matter who’s in the White House, the the the mistreatment of Haitian and Black migrants and immigrants is has been going on for a decade.
Marcia L. Dyson [00:44:26] You know, it’s similar to the industrial prison complex, right. That people in small towns, mostly non Blacks or people of color income, comes off of the incarceration of people of color or Blacks and other minorities. The same thing with ICE and these other so-called agencies. And then we have to also look at, you know, who is the person who is hiring the people, just like with the police department. Why are there so evil or seemingly so evil or so mean and the. I do work with the military, I know that there’s a disproportionately number of ex military personnel who are suffering from post-traumatic stress, they’re gone happy, they’re trigger happy, nobody’s checking them facilities. And we don’t know to have the hierarchy, even among the people in these international agencies or even our own agencies who are supposed to have this empathy or to regulate or to capture, send back or negotiate or determine who gets and who gets out, who can sit in and like limbo or purgatory, so to speak, and who gets a chance to actually go to the to the alter and build them down and take the bread and the wine. OK, so I think that again, what I tell my sons of this and what I try to tell all the American citizens and what I’m telling my my younger social activist, is that your you have to be aware of what is happening globally and to understand what is happening to us. And Haiti has proved that to us at this particular border. So now the people are not there. Are they there out of sight, but they should never be out of mind. There’s nothing until we really start not being so, you know, I won’t say trigger happy and just responding on Twitter, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook about stuff. It really is incumbent upon us to really study the situation so we can speak articulate this so-called truth to power. Right. It can be back in the day, the living color. You know, the guy in the jail cell talking crazy. We really have to know it, because what I have found out, which was amazing to me, that there were a lot of members on our foreign affairs who never traveled internationally, never spoke another language, not even their top aide. They would go and visit their countries and then to when they go on congressional delegations, which they have not been doing so much, of course, since Kovik a few years prior to call it that they are treated like rock stars so they can never feel the walls are the people. That’s the reason why when I was in my first congressional delegation to Haiti, I told Congressman Conyers, I don’t travel like that. I’d have to know what is happening with the people. And that is what it is. And for me, if I did not take that upon myself, I didn’t know how to push off and push back on this presidential foundation that was supposed to be in there to help, I would not have been able authentically to help the Haitians themselves. So it’s really incumbent on us that when we have a passion for something, that it’s not about a hashtag. It really is having a deep rooted understanding of the plight of the people, what the causes of it were versus the systemic things really are so that we know how to fight intelligently. Knowledge is the best arsenal that we can have in our weaponry. Right.
Shana Pinnock [00:47:47] You kind of touched on this a little bit because I find it. For me, it’s a double edged sword. We are the media, so I’m always like almost like, you know, I’m always like, you know, we did our thing, but I’m also kind of like but we also kind of contributed to this as well. Because when you think about it, when it comes to Haitian immigrants or Haitian migrants, especially in this country, there has always been this story, this air that they are diseased, unskilled, poor criminals, all of that. And I mean, like the media has been responsible for that. And when I say the media, I’m talking about news. I’m talking about entertainment. I’m talking about, you know, like all of this all of these things. I guess my final question to you would be, what would be your charge to those of us in the media, you know, to to change that narrative? How can we also help? Because, yeah, you know, some layperson, but not really
Marcia L. Dyson [00:48:48] I remember calling CNN and taking issue with Anderson Cooper because you always want to talk about poor Haiti while at the same time you have very wealthy white people. At the same time in these villages, when you go to Haiti, when you go to Port-Au-Prince, if you go toward the airport, you see where Haitians don’t own it. But some of the Haitians have homeless homes that you would swear you were in the Swiss Alps. Right. But they were children after the earthquake coming from under those tents and Chris, blouses, thick white bowls, tattered water, torn books, appreciating education. And I think that, again, is by design to say that these people are criminals or criminals. I mean, you know, so every country has their good and they’re bad and they’re ugly. But the stigma of the stigmatizing of Haiti is so deeply rooted. That’s the reason why I tell my students to and what I would tell media persons. Right. I’ve been in places before the G20, G8 in London spoke to and at the United Nations and been in the room where it happens. If you’re not in the room where it happens, then you don’t really know what’s going to happen and how they translate it on the outside. Right. And I also tell my students that it is incumbent upon you to go beyond the infinite finiteness of Google because even those seem infinite to the student is still find out because it’s somebody else’s fault and how they want you to navigate the course and to which you’re trying to explore the course that you want to go to scholars. So I would tell media you have to look at other journals. You have to start reading like foreign affairs journals of Georgetown foreign affairs journals and take time to go with the people said I’m now in Nashville. The first thing I want to the West international community I found it in overdrive was right, Ethiopia, Middle Eastern, Brazilian. And I said, What do you Kongregate and I found out every place where these people congregate together, whether it’s in the church, in their bazaars or whatever. So I can continue to take to have an authentic hold on what is happening in their world, because most of our agencies will not give you the correct information. And I don’t really push back on the media. You know, most of the time, especially for the mainstream media, is what somebody is putting on the teleprompter. That idea of really reporting news is far gone and something that I hope that journalists, especially the journalists that I’m working with, take that more to heart, especially the younger students, so that we can get to some form of truth and not spew to what the media owners, the big ones, want you to say or do. Think about it. Colin Powell, I told my students students were reading this whole lie about weapons of mass destruction. You can see on his face that he was we did say that if the chief of staff is reading a lie, is giving a lie, what do you think that you’re given that you don’t need to explore a little bit more
Shana Pinnock [00:51:42] in the room where it happens is not just a little bit of the Hamilton stuff,
Marcia L. Dyson [00:51:49] and that’s all it is. We must be in the room where it happens. We have to take our seats there. And that’s what I do through mentorship, my mentorship, my students. I make sure they go to the United Nations, that the United Nations model, because I told the United Nations is the United Nations, but all countries not in it. So is it really united is tribalist.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:52:08] Wow, wow, wow, wow. Marcia, I mean, I don’t know. You have given us such a wealth of knowledge and we really appreciate you coming to chat with us. And I think that this is going to be so impactful for our listeners. And I really hope that they take what you said and take that as a charge to to do what we can to ensure that we better the conditions for for Haitian migrants in an all Black migrants and all Black immigrants.
Shana Pinnock [00:52:34] Thank you. Absolutely.
Marcia L. Dyson [00:52:36] Absolutely. And could end with this. When Dr. King marched, he marched with knowledge about the people to whom he was advocating for. And we need to do. Knowledge is power even under the adjudicator for others.
Shana Pinnock [00:52:51] Goodness. Well, I mean, the bottom line is what’s happening at the border is a humanitarian crisis and the symptom of a long, complicated relationship between the U.S. and Haiti. Now, more than ever, it’s time to unite and support our brothers and sisters trying to make their way to safety, to see our original reporting and to stay on top of what’s going on at the border and beyond. You can always head to our website www.youtube.com Marsia. This has been amazing. You have definitely helped inform me and I’m sure our listeners as well. Thank you so much.
Marcia L. Dyson [00:53:20] Thank you all for having me. I hope you have feedback on other issues.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:53:31] We want to remind our listeners, please support your local Black businesses and donate to your local organizations and religious institutions, the business that will highlight this week is Papa Rozier Farms, founded in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Back in twenty eighteen, Papa RozierFarms is an all natural beauty linez that sauces is ingredients from their family owned farm in Haiti and makes them at their farmhouse in Brooklyn. Every purchase from the paparazzi farms has a positive impact and is an investment in education, agriculture and the people of Haiti. To learn more about how you can support this business, head to their website at w w w paparozierfarms.com. That’s W-W-W P-A-P-A R-O-Z-I-E-R dot com. Thank you for listening to dear culture. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review and subscribe to the show wherever you listen to your podcast and share it with everyone you know.
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