Michele Wucker is the author of The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore, to be published in April 2016 by St Martin’s Press. She also is the author of LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right (Public Affairs; a Washington Post Book World “Best Nonfiction of 2006” Selection) and Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians and the Struggle For Hispaniola (FSG/Hill & Wang, 1999). A 2009 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, she has been interviewed by many US and international media including National Public Radio, MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN. Previously she was Vice President for Studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, following a position as President of the World Policy Institute in New York City, where she oversaw the organization’s successful spinoff from The New School in 2007.
Throughout history, technological breakthroughs have created industrial revolutions that have shaped not only how we produce goods and services but also the movement of people around the world. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as the New Machine Age, is no different. As increasing automation makes some jobs obsolete and additive manufacturing moves industries and jobs across national borders, these technological changes will upend the politics and economics of global labour migration. In an article for the World Economic Forum Agenda, “Will migrants and robots be competing for the same jobs?” published on November 10, 2015, I reflected on the challenges these changes will present.
The Dominican Republic, as it did nearly 80 years ago when offering Jewish refugees visas after the dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered an ethnic cleansing at the Haitian border, is trying to polish its international reputation after carrying out human rights violations condemned around the world. This time, it still has a chance to do the right thing by changing its policies on deportation and denationalization. My thoughts in Foreign Policy on October 8, 2015, about the country’s attempt to gloss over 11 counts of violations of the commitments it made under the American Convention on Human Rights, on which it has reneged and on what it could do to make things right (and make its public relations consultants’ job easier).
World Rhino Day is a reminder each September of the way we often don’t address crucial problems until it is too late, as is the case for the four remaining Northern white rhinos, a sub species facing extinction. But that doesn’t have to be the fate of the rest of the rhinos still walking the earth, as I argue in the Huffington Post.
Sam Koebrich from cfr.org recently interviewed me about the expulsions to Haiti by the Dominican Republic of Dominicans of Haitian descent and recent migrants. “Deportations in the Dominican Republic,” August 13, 2015. Several people have noted that my approach to the issues avoid hyperbole and focus on constructive suggestions.
Acento republished the interview in Spanish in the Dominican Republic, prompting a series of tweets and posts to my public Facebook page from Dominicans who refuse to accept any criticism. At least one was outraged by the supposed international plot for “fusion” of the two countries sharing the island of Hispaniola -you know, the same plot that exists only in the mind of Dominican ultra-nationalists. But I don’t mind. They at least spelled my name right.
The killing of Cecil the Lion this summer sparked a frenzy of outrage, first over the killing itself and then degenerating into fury over how-over-the-top some of the reactions were and, above all, over the fact that the lion was the subject and not whatever the complainer’s cause-of-choice happened to be. There’s a better way to respond. Read my thoughts in the New York Observer
In the latest chapter in a long and complicated history of tensions with neighboring Haiti, the Dominican Republic is poised to deport recent Haitian migrants and expel Dominicans of Haitian descent who have not been able to prove that they were born there. This week, the deadline to apply for “regularization” passed, with many people saying they applied but have not been given proof, and many others having been rejected or having been unable to get past bureaucratic chaos.
National Public Radio’s Audie Cornish interviewed me June 17th, 2015, on All Things Considered about the history of tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the subject of my first book, WHY THE COCKS FIGHT: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola. You can listen to the interview and read the transcript HERE.
For additional information about the history of the two countries and current efforts by Dominicans and Haitians to overcome the past, please visit www.borderoflights.org.
I highly recommend Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones, a novel about the 1937 massacre, and Julia Alvarez’s A Wedding in Haiti, a contemporary and nuanced account of relationships among Dominicans and Haitians.