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5857: #5847: Seconding Simidor's point on generalizations (fwd)

From: Lois E Wilcken <makandal-ny@juno.com>

From:  makandal-ny@juno.com

I'm speaking from 20 years of experience working and living with Haitian
people in the United States and in Haiti.

When we say "Haitians," we are talking about people born in Haiti.  That
means a sharing of history and place.  But such factors as socio-economic
class, health, presence or absence of love in one's life, etc., lead to
many different experiences of the same history and place--and many
different types of people.  I have known Haitians who distrust all
"blan," and others who work with foreigners to rebuild the country.  I
have heard Haitians tell lies, and I have heard them tell the truth.  My
own experience of Haitian people (and all other peoples defined by
nation) is that common history and place might explain such cultural
traits as a GENERAL respect for tradition (GENERALLY weak  in North
American culture), but they do not determine an individual's fundamental
character.  Twenty years of fieldwork that have brought me closer to
Haitians than I am with my own nuclear family have taught me that both
positive and negative generalizations about Haitians' honesty,
friendliness, industry, etc., are a sign, respectively, of romanticism or

Lois Wilcken
La Troupe Makandal - New York City's #1 Haitian Roots Ensemble
621 Rutland Road, Brooklyn NY 11203
718-953-6638 / makandal-ny@juno.com