The man who was arguably Haiti’s religious leader has passed away. His story is fascinating:
Max Beauvoir was a middle-aged businessman with little interest in the occult. The son of a doctor and a scientist himself, he boasted degrees from schools in New York and Paris and a burgeoning career as a biochemist in the U.S. He was not the kind of man who went about seeking spiritual encounters.
So no one was more shocked than he was when his nonagenarian grandfather, lying on his deathbed in Haiti surrounded by more than a dozen descendants, lifted a single, unsteady finger and pointed it at Beauvoir.
”Grandfather turned to me and said, ‘You will carry on the tradition,’” Beauvoir recalled in 1983, 10 years after the moment that changed his life. “It was not the sort of thing you could refuse.”
“The tradition” was voodoo…
By the way, when people refer to “voodoo economics” it is a sign of how selective a lot of our political correctness still is. Would anyone dream of criticizing a political candidate for his or her “[fill in the blank with some other historically persecuted religion] economics”?
And on the substance of the matter, voodoo is arguably less prone to “free lunch thinking” than say, many Protestant forms of Christianity. It’s just an easier target because most people don’t know much about it and they see like-minded others taking a poke at it. The believers and practitioners of the religion seem remarkably distant, but they are not. They are real people, and they take their beliefs seriously. Why should we turn the name of their religion into an insulting epithet?
It’s worth reflecting on this usage any time you wonder how some of the “other people out there” still can say racist things.