Born in Haiti and knowledgeable about the world of optics and colors, I was struck right from the start by the numerous shortcomings in the study of that subject. Long and patient research has allowed me to identify the prejudices at the base of the distortions of both science and common sense. That is why I have kept drawing the attention of political, religious and scientific leaders to those elements which continue to hinder healthy relations between Black nations and the Western world.

The recent and profound changes that have occurred in Haiti, especially since President Jean Bertrand Aristide came to power, have led me to believe that it is possible to correct the misperceptions the West has about the Black world. It should be noted that those misperceptions have consequences which affect not only interpersonal relations between Blacks and Whites, but also the kind of economic exchanges prevailing between the West and the Black peoples. Any attempt at improvement in that field will certainly be difficult, but not impossible, as the success of the new political process in Haiti has proven.

Actually, many people have failed to realize that the fact that Jean Bertrand Aristide is holding the reins of power seems to symbolize the difficult dialogue between the ruling White power and the dominated Black power. Was not Aristide opposed, even rejected, by those holding political and religious power in the West? In fact, the new President received his power from the hands of the Black people, whom he is certainly most entitled and best able to represent. That is why he not only finds himself quite close to the reality and truth of the Black world but has also been able to share his views with leaders at both the national and international levels. In the wider sphere of relations between the Black world and the West, does this not give us reason to dream of the victory of the Black truth over White prejudices?

Western prejudices concerning the Black world are deep and manifold. Of course, they do not date back to the beginning of history, but only to a few centuries ago, when the West needed to justify only the slavery of the Blacks. In the political, religious and scientific spheres, did not opinion leaders do everything they could to make people believe that everything black is negative, worthless, even lethal?

In the letter I wrote to President Aristide, I made a point of drawing the attention of the leaders of the Black world to the political impact of such a contempt of Black people — in a universe of which Haiti is an integral part. Such a vision is manifested, on the political level, by the arrogant and domineering attitude of the West toward this small Caribbean island. Do we not find a similar contempt of Blacks in the attitude of Western Christianity?
My research has produced an affirmative answer to the above question, as indicated in my letter to Pope John Paul II, when he visited Haiti for the first time, in March 1983. In that letter, I clearly show the anti-Black concepts which have infiltrated Christian practices in the West. Such anti-Black prejudices have not even spared the Western scientific world, as I have attempted to showin my letter to the famous astrophysicist, Dr. Carl Sagan. You will note that data related to optics and the meaning of different colors is found to be distorted right from the beginning. So it might be said that Western science itself suffers from anti-Black prejudices, which are deeply rooted in the Western consciousness.

Now it is up to you, the reader, to become acquainted with these modest reflections about the profound causes making healthy dialogue between the West and the Black world difficult, if not impossible. Let us not forget that Haiti, my native land, is an active component of that Black world. May this humble essay be the starting point for other more complete, in-depth research!

Lucien Bonnet