January 15th, 2010

thinky tim

Link rec: "Charity is not the same as Compassion"

One of the most vicious and manipulative tools we humans have evolved is to use our individual impulses towards kindness and pity to build systems that reinforce oppressive and discriminatory practices.

"Clothe the pauper." "Heal the heathen." "Rescue the orphan." "Free the woman."

The discourse around disaster relief in Haiti has already begun to make me sick to my stomach. Because "natural disasters" are somehow painted apolitical, as though the sphere of human responsibility has been completely suspended.

More at [personal profile] deepad's post, including some of the specific circumstances that rendered Haiti so vulnerable to "natural disasters." The general concept, of course, is also applicable to just about every other instance of help from the privileged, and explains how impulses to truly aid those without privilege often get cut off at the knees.

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