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#1018: Miami-Dade OKs ballots in Creole : Poincy Comments

From: Jean Poincy <caineve@idt.net>

>  ``It is very important that the ballot be in Creole,'' said Leonie
> Hermantin, executive director of the Haitian-American Foundation. The
> measure has a practical as well as symbolic significance, she said.
>  ``It will make a segment of our population that feels marginalized feel
> as if they are a part of this great county,'' Hermantin said.

	I am not sure how this measure would advance the cause of Ayitians
living in Miami-Dade County. Every where we go there is still the
misconception about the use to be made (even in Ayiti) of the Ayitian
language. When a language is written, it requires that people are able
to read it and get the message from the written words. The Ayitian case
is different. We have two categories in the Ayitian language dilemma:
those who do not know how to read at all which I am sure will be found
in majority if a survey is conducted in that community and those who
know how to read, but find it demeaning to use in any "official setting"
or to learn how to read and write Ayitian they best speak. For the
latter, attempting to read the language is a gruesome undertaking which
if they do, they'll complain that they can't read it well; and they take
pride in saying so.

	I really don't see the practicality of translating the ballots. A
"symbolic significance": it's a maybe. However, for the benefits of
those going after the Ayitian votes. Feeling part of a community is a
matter of how willing one is to integrate him/herself in it. Doing so is
not by holding tight to one's culture or language; rather by adapting
oneself, in learning the language of that community (learning how to
read for that matter)and engage in its internal activities and be part
of its reality. One who does not want to be marginalized in a community
does not make his/her presence circumstancial. Just go to work, eat and
sleep does not cut it. A course of action that could be necessary is to
invest in the formal education of the potential voters; for the
taxpayer's dollars would be put in better use. 

Ayiti has lived, lives and will live