Haitians are not taught to think critically. We simply don’t ask that many questions. Trying to discriminate between fact and fiction or just simply being inquisitive is largely frowned upon in our culture. And that fosters ignorance and ignorance is costly and it has already cost our people a great deal.
Consider what happened a few decades ago when scientist came down to Haiti and insisted on eradicating the black pigs because they claimed that the pigs were unsafe to consume. And, the peasants who depended on these pigs to survive were skeptical of that claim but there was no way for Haitians to scientifically disprove those claims, so we ended up killing off all the pigs. And whether or not there was something legitimately wrong with the pigs or whether it was a matter of special interest can be debated at length but what we all know for certain is that a lot of peasants lost their livelihood and that many people are still reeling from these losses even today.
Now when something so critical to your people is being put in question and people are mandating for a country to get rid of a very valuable resource and no one in that country can investigate to either confirm or deny such a claim that’s a huge problem. And you may say that it was a long time ago or you may say that there were other influences that would’ve made it happen regardless but let’s fast forward to today. Today, at present, we still don’t have a legitimate national scientific establishment in the country, in Haiti, so we’re still vulnerable to potentially nefarious information or potentially disadvantageous information coming from outside or, you know, even worse, people come in and they can take great advantage of our resources at our expense because we simply don’t know any better.
And… we see that it’s something that is engrained, again, in our culture where people can’t really understand what’s going on so superstition takes over and people try to make it pass for culture or tradition. When the truth is, people are just putting pieces together just trying to understand their environment a little bit better. So I feel like it is incumbent upon us Haitians to start being more discerning of what’s going on around us, to start really investigating and experimenting and trying to…offer or present proof to our stories, our theories that’s going to uphold the integrity of our research or things that we actually try to understand beyond just repeating something that we heard somebody say.
So today, I’m talking about how we’re un-inquisitive and un-speculative and I’m not just being critical for the sake of being critical. I understand the situation of a lot of our fellow Haitians in Haiti. They don’t necessarily have the luxury to seat around and ponder upon life’s great meaning but I’m still critical of Haitians because, you know, Haitians are you and I. Not every Haitian is starving (you know). Especially a lot of us living outside of the country, we have the luxury to really start asking these questions.
We should not just keep repeating things and we shouldn’t just wait for other people to tell us what’s going on. We should really be more investigative. Especially a lot of people that I see at the professional level, at the academic level in Haiti, they still are content just repeating things. They don’t really try to find out for themselves. And to change a country it doesn’t take 99% of the country to be like happy, well-fed, well-educated. It just takes the ones who can, the ones who care, to start moving and taking the lead and start asking those questions, start thinking critically to make a difference.
Consider this example and I posted a link to this story in my description box just to show the lengths that people will go to in the western world to come to a conclusion that makes sense, to answer a very probing question. Sir Isaac Newton, he actually stuck a knife in his eye to try to understand colors and they talk about colors at length in this story from Radio lab that I’m posting in my description box. So just think about how far this person went to do something like that and a lot of other people also devote a lot of time to try to understand something, to investigate, to look beyond the surface, the obvious, to prove or disprove something that has been told to them.
And this is the culture of knowledge and the encouragement to seek knowledge that we need to instill in our people, in our young people and our older people if they are willing. So think about it yourself and look in the mirror and find out: Are you a critical thinker? Are you an investigative, an inquisitive Haitian? Because this is what we need to progress, we need more inquisitive, critically thinking Haitians. So I hope you enjoyed this little segment. I hope we’re going to keep progressing together. I hope to see you next week. My name is Marli. I am a Haiti Hope Ambassador and keep asking questions.