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6163: Re: 6161: Re: 6140: Re: 6029: Re: 6008: RE: 5978: Teaching a lesson: "blan" or Madanm" (fwd)

From: H P <kemsere@hotmail.com>

I don't understand why your post is so defensive.
I just stated what I feel should be expected of people if they choose to 
live in an adopted environment.

I don't think there's anything wrong with exposing the people in your 
community to a different view point. If you feel this is something you need 
to do, more power to you.
I was simply exposing my viewpoint on the matter: people sometimes 

I don't know if you read the rest of my post or only focused on this part. I 
offered several different versions of the use of the word "blan". My point 
was to show that unlike the word "n-----" in english, it is not necessarily 
a pejorative term but more often descriptive.

I think it is normal that you adapt to your husband's community lifestyle. 
My mother did when she came to haiti 23 years ago.
But part of adapting, like I said in my post, is UNDERSTANDING the 
environment. That doesn't mean you have to agree with the customs, but it 
helps if you understand where they come from. It helps in understanding your 
husband, and his community, and it helps in understanding your children 
which will ineviatbly inherit different sides of both cultures.

I meet a lot of foreigners in Haiti, having attended a non haitian high 
school and many of my friends being biracial.
What I have noticed is that many foreigners, mostly the ones that are not 
married to haitians and work for the international community, try to change 
our customs.
I saw this with my teachers, who reprimended us for speaking any other 
language than French (especially English) on school grounds. I saw this in 
my classes where we were promptly corrected for using French that was 
Many of the foreigners I met just kept criticizing everything about haiti. 
It is the what my mother and I call the "colonizer complex". Foreigners that 
think they have something to teach to the "poor Haitians".

I realize you are not like that. You have taken a huge initiative in 
completely immersing yourself in a foreign culture. This is very different 
from the foreigners I meet in haiti who only seek the company of their own 
kind. I admire your courage because I don't think I could make such a 
drastic change in my lifestyle,(I wouldn't marry an Irani man :-))

All I was trying to say in my original post was that I don't feel the use of 
the word "blan" is a huge issue.
>From what I gather of the community in which you live, you are probably one 
of few if any white people there. There is nothing you can do about the fact 
that you look different. If you are the only different looking person in 
town the natural inclination is to describe you by those differences.
Now if this bothers you, you can say so, which you are already doing. But I 
wouldn't spend so much time dwelling on it because I really don't feel it's 
that important, and because whether you realize it or not it's not going to 
make much of a difference.

You might get some townspeople to call you madanm, and the people who are 
your friends will call you caroline, but when you are not there you will 
always be "blan-a".

Just like the only Black man in a community will always be "the Black guy" 
to the people that don't know him. It's not offensive, it's just a 
descriptive fact: he IS black, just like you are white and there's nothing 
wrong with that.

I hope I haven't offended you. My original post was certainly not meant to 
do so. However I don't think I said anything wrong. I simply stated facts, 
and my opinion on these facts. Being a biracial haitian that actually sees 
both sides of the coin, I thought maybe a different perspective would be 
useful and interesting.

All the best,
God Bless

Emanuelle A. Zennie