Fear and Loathing in Haiti: Race and Politics of Humanitarian Dispossession


  • Beverley Mullings Department of Geography, Queen’s University
  • Marion Werner York University
  • Linda Peake Department of Social Science, York University




natural disaster, racism, humanitarian crisis, debt, financial colonialism, neoliberalism, humanitarianism, capitalism


The response by Western governments to the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010 throws into sharp relief the connections between racism and dispossession in times of humanitarian crisis. In this article, we take the 2010 earthquake as a point of departure in order to examine the purpose that circulating discourses of black criminality serve in narratives of humanitarianism and development in Haiti. Through an examination of debt, financial colonialism and neoliberal adjustment we explore the deep associations between racism, humanitarianism and ongoing capitalist processes. We conclude by outlining what it would take to dismantle the dispossessions that racialized discourses of blackness, criminality and failed development facilitate in Haiti.


How to Cite

Mullings, B., Werner, M., & Peake, L. (2015). Fear and Loathing in Haiti: Race and Politics of Humanitarian Dispossession. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 9(3), 282–300. https://doi.org/10.14288/acme.v9i3.870