The Dysfunctional Mind and Miseducation of the Haitian Intellectual

Theme: “The Dysfunctional Mind and Miseducation of the Haitian Public Intellectual”

To follow up with my previous post on the crisis of the Haitian public intellectual, I’m presently working on a short piece on the dysfunctional mind and miseducation of the Haitian public intellectual. Allow me to share with you a few paragraph drafts I have written so far:

“When your goal is to please certain academic and intellectual circles in France, Canada, or even those in the GREAT United States of America, you won’t give a crap about the suffering masses and underclass in Haiti or in the Haitian Diaspora. This intellectual conundrum has deep roots in the neocolonial education and academic elitism of the Haitian public intellectual that aim chiefly at achieving certain selfish objectives such as the appropriation of one’s thought, research, and action to promote and sustain certain elitist programs, traditions, schools of thought, institutions–which in themselves are potentially hindering the progress and emancipation of the Haitian people and the Haitian masses. While some values are worth preserving and disseminating, some do not promote the common good and the total emancipation of the poor, the exploited, and the oppressed.To put simply, there’s a profound disconnection between the values of the Haitian intellectual and the values of the Haitian public and the masses. We may even pronounce that the values which the Haitian intellectual acquired in the intellectual formation also contributed to his dysfunctional and miseducation of the mind. The whole process of intellectual formation is both life-threatening (in the intellectual sense) and devastating (in terms of the relationship between the Haitian public intellectual and the Haitian underclass and the oppressed majority); what is more destructive about this miseducation process is the very failure of the Haitian public intellectual to undo the bad “habits of the mind,” to reject unhealthy values, to decolonize the process of the (his) mind, and to deconstruct what is presented as good and beautiful for the Haitian people.

In order for the Haitian public intellectual to practice decolonization (Frantz Fanon) and conscientization (Paulo Freire), he himself has to be affirm that he is the problem (W.E. B. Du Bois has asked that question at the turn of the twentieth-century in his famous book, “The Souls of Black Folk” [1903]: “What does it mean to be a problem?”), and that he lives in a continuous “mental trap,” that is the state of the will and the mind is in bondage. The mind of the Haitian public intellectual is severely damaged…The Haitian public intellectual must love and serve the people who are the life-force, and the central subjects and agents of his intellectual and academic discourse and achievement. We’re not the protagonists and champions of our work and discourse; the people are and should be.”


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