Earlier this year, Harvard Law student Stephanie Grace sent an email to her friends explaining why she believes that Black Americans are genetically inferior to whites. You can read the full text of the email here. In particular, though, I wanted to highlight a specific quote:
This suggests to me that some part of intelligence is genetic, just like identical twins raised apart tend to have very similar IQs and just like I think my babies will be geniuses and beautiful individuals whether I raise them or give them to an orphanage in Nigeria.
Needless to say, Stephanie didn’t make any friends with her remarks. So what does this have to do with Haiti? Earlier today I visited an orphanage with some work colleagues, and happened to bring along my camera, a Canon Rebel XSi. If you know about cameras, you know it’s a pretty good entry-level DSLR camera. If you are unfamiliar with camera lingo, it’s one of those large fancy-looking cameras that wedding photographers tend to use. It’s one of those cameras that makes it easy to take photos, but still takes some skill to take a great photo. Anyway, after snapping a few photos of the kids and showing them their pictures, one of the older kids, Angelot, wanted to try and take pictures himself. Sure, why not. So I explained in my best kreyol (which is only but five or six words at this point) “look here, turn here, press here,” and the rest was up to him.
This kid was amazing. He not only took fantastic photos (keep in mind this kid had never held a camera before), but he began instructing people on how to pose so that the photo would come out even better. Below is a video of him positioning some of us and some of the other kids for a group photo:
The point of all this, and I sincerely hope Stephanie Grace stumbles onto this blog one day, is that being a Black orphan doesn’t genetically predisposition you towards being less intelligent. It’s a basic lesson that I’m sure most people are aware, but it’s disappointing that a Harvard Law student couldn’t really pick up on the basics.
Brilliance is everywhere, and more often than not, all it needs are the right resources. What if Angelot had access to math and science text books, Emily Dickinson, a violin? For now, though, he’s always welcome to use my camera and defy expectations. Below are some photos that Angelot took, the first one being the group photo he took while I filmed the process. And yes, he took that picture at the top of the article.