Everywhere, This Song, Always
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The prospect of writing my Senior Individualized Project on the Haitian Revolution was a daunting one. Who was I to even try to tell such a story? I have never been to Haiti, I don't speak Haitian Creole, and my knowledge of Voodoo is, at best, superficial. These were just some of my problems, problems that didn't go away, but that l came to terms with. I realized that I had to be okay with not being able to understand, but try to understand all the same. Another issue I had while writing this SIP was the issue of depiction: it was all too tempting (not to mention easy) to depict everyone of color as inherently good, and everyone white as bad. I don't think I quite succeeded in eradicating this poisonous dichotomy from my SIP, but I plan to because these were people, these things happened, and to see this period of history in such simple terms is to make a grievous mistake (not to mention really hollow writing), for it implies that there are inherent differences between the two groups. This attitude, this desire to glorify the story of the Haitian Revolution, also demeans it. There is nothing miraculous about the Haitian Revolution. Inspiring, yes, amazing, yes, but miraculous, no. To place the Haitian Revolution and its main players on a remote pedestal divests it of the lessons it can teach: People were and are capable of such horrors as those inflicted on the slaves by the colonists; they were and are also capable of the self-determination demonstrated by the future ·Haitians who fought to define themselves.