And why we may not help enough - The recent devastating earthquake in Haiti, which is a country of black people, reminds us that when assessing the amount of help someone needs, people's perceptions can be affected by their racial biases.
Psychologist Donald Saucier created a questionnaire for his students a year after Hurricane Katrina that evaluated the their perceptions of Katrina victims. Saucier says, "We wanted to look at how much the participants felt that the victims may have been to blame for their own situation in Katrina. We asked the participants to make personality attributions about individuals, such as whether they thought the victims were lazy, stupid, sinful or unlucky. If they said they were lazy, stupid or sinful, they were putting more blame on the victims for the situation. If they said they were unlucky, they took away the blame."
The results showed that participants generally thought people impacted by Hurricane Katrina were black and lower class. Participants who whose replies show them to be less racist thought the victims did not receive adequate help from the government, while those who were more racist thought the victims received adequate government assistance and were at fault for their situation.
Saucier says that although these findings can't fix what happened to the victims, the study helps show how people interpret the situation: When something negative happens, people often evaluate the situation and see whether they can fix it, and sometimes they avoid the situation by blaming the victim.
The next thing we are likely to hear about is Haitian boat people trying to reach our shore (which they do regularly anyway). Will we send them back like we usually do?Meanwhile, televangelist Pat Robertson has an explanation for the quake: He says it happened because Haiti made a "pact with the devil" in order to gain liberation. In Yahoo News, Gina DiNunno quotes Robertson as saying, "Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and the people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you, if you get us free from the French.'" Shortly after 911, he said the same sort of thing about the U.S., except in that case he blamed the attack mainly on homosexuals. To contribute tothe Yele relief effort on the ground in Haiti, click here.
Whitley Strieber recently caused an emotion earthquake with his incredible revelations, for subscribers, about his personal experiences of what seems to have been government-sponsored child abuse. Another person who has caused an earthquake in the New Age world is William Henry and you can listen to his podcast every week! If you want to keep these special interviews coming, please click the "donate" tab on our homepage (and thanks!)
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