Thursday, January 21, 2010


Ethnocentricity. I'm seeing a lot of that post-earthquake in Haiti.

I doubt any of us would say, "Our country and its citizens are far superior to other people and other cultures in the world!" but that's the attitude I'm seeing on television coverage of the Haiti disaster.

Today a set of parents whose college-age children are missing in Haiti were featured. Although my heart breaks for them, the attitude they had was that the US was not doing enough to find American citizens and that the government needed to get more help to the hotel where their daughters were staying. As the interview goes on, you find that it is one of the hotels were international search and rescue teams have been since the beginning. Meanwhile, most of the Hatians have been left to dig out their own survivors without the aid of international agencies to bring equipment and expertise to help out.

One of the dads went on to say that the US needed to stop providing aid and continue to focus on search and rescue. Meanwhile, there are people who did survive the disaster who are dying of thirst and infection due to not having the aid they need.

Of course, Dr. Phil says, "No matter how thin you make a pancake, there are always two sides." While I recognize these parents are speaking out of frustration, emotion, fear and helplessness, I am saddened that our media focuses on these stories that continue to paint Americans as ethnocentric people who care only about the needs of the wealthy Americans when disaster strikes.

I suppose there is a bit of truth in that though. We live in an ethnocentric country and an egocentric society.

We all have within our power to help those who cannot help themselves. If you haven't already, check out what Samaritan's Purse is doing and consider a financial donation to help out the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

1 comment:

Christy said...

I don't think that those people were intentionally saying that the Haitian people aren't important; it's just a natural human response to think that what's important to US IS what's important. Does that make sense? If my kids were there, THEY would be my main concern b/c they are MY kids. It's not that I would wish harm on anyone else.