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7305: Lauture and "keeping up with the Jones'" (fwd)
From: Lance Durban <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My thanks to the anonymous poster who points out that the Lautures drive a
15 year old Subaru! Although the recent Lauture discussion HAD prompted
my comment and criticism of what might be called the "keeping up with the
Jones' mentality" so prevalent among the elites of Haiti, I did not mean
to criticize the Lautures, a family that I had not even heard of until the
recent discussion. In re-reading my earlier post, I also did not mean to
denigrate the many valuable efforts of wealthy Haitians to help those less
fortunate than themselves.
I WAS commenting on the apparent inability of many elite in Haiti to see
how their conspicuous consumption is viewed by the masses. It's
Jean-Claude and Michelle Duvalier televising an extravagant, super-rich
high society party for the masses of Gonaive! "Keeping up with the
Jones'" is not a problem in the U.S. where most people describe themselves
as middle class. In Haiti however, it is a most devisive attitude which
keeps people from working together.
Any successful Haitian President needs to bring people together yet elite
insensitivity makes the the job pretty difficult. How many took Aristide
seriously when he proclaimed that he wanted to be the President of ALL
Haitians? The automatic assumption seems to be that if he is working for
the good of one group then he must be working against the interests of the
other. Aristide has to get everyone on the same bus, and only to the
extent that he is able to do that will he (and we in Haiti) enjoy a
measure of success in the next 5 years. Sensitizing the elite of Haiti to
the desperate conditions of their less fortunate countryman is a good
first step, but changing elite behavior patterns which contribute to class
antagonisms in the first place will be the more difficult challenge.
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