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6186: Re: 6176: Haitian children sent to Haiti (fwd)

By: Anonymous

This is a can of worms.  First, you can't generalize about Haitian
children, because each has their own personal life story; there are
different family arrangements such as single parents, extended families,
stepchildren, etc; there are different educational and socioeconomic
backgrounds; there are different environments here in the US such as
inner city or suburban neighborhoods.  All of these factors affect
quality and quantity of time and effort spent on the young person by
adults and peers in his/her life.

It is useful to examine the situation of a young growing person as
influenced by two groups of factors: family and society.  Haitians are
treated by American society more or less as Blacks.  Haitian children
identify with Black American culture and are subject to all the same
prejudices and stereotypes.  This can be a cause of tension between the
Haitian and African American community as each tries to keep their own
identity, but in general the two groups receive the same treatment from
the police, schools, real estate agents, bank clerks, DSS workers, etc.
There are assumptions made about you based on your physical appearance,
skin color is not the least important.

Some Haitian parents are quicker than others in learning childrearing
styles which are acceptable in America.  This causes a problem because
DSS does not recognize cultural differences as an excuse for child
abuse.  Haitian parents thus tend to blame DSS when they have discipline
problems with their children.  "How am I supposed to control them if I
can't hit them?"  So they send the misbehaving kids back to Haiti to get
them out of a bad environment. Haitians come here for opportunity, not
out of a desire to change their cultural identity.  In Haiti, parent and
neighbors all have considerable contact with children.  Here, Haitian
parents often don't have time because of work, and the neighbors are not
involved.  The US is a place of opportunity for children, and also
danger.  Not just for Haitians, there are a lot of kids (and adults) of
all kinds here with personality/drug/criminal behavior problems.  We
have some of the highest rates of incarceration in the world here.

Now, to answer the question as to whether sending kids with problems
back to Haiti is a good idea, let us remember to ask if we are not also
sending the problems back, and  to ask if there are not better