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#1184: Bilingualism: Dorce replies to Bellegarde-Smith


In a message dated 11/30/1999 

<< From: P D Bellegarde-Smith <pbs@csd.uwm.edu>
 There is misused of sociological concepts galore on this line. The
 numerical minority that speaks French in Haiti, is the "dominant" group,
 not a minority. Conversely, the numerical majority that speaks Haitian
 Creole is the "minority." Whites, in South Africa and in the United
 States, are "dominant," Africans and African Americans, the minority.
 Numbers have nothing to do with it. Power and power relationships do.
 Let's employ these terms appropriately.
OK let's. The Merriam-Webster Collegiate dictionary defines "majority" as 
follows:ma*jor*i*ty (noun), plural -ties

First appeared 1552

 1 obsolete : the quality or state of being greater

 2 a : the age at which full civil rights are accorded

   b : the status of one who has attained this age

 3 a : a number greater than half of a total

   b : the excess of a majority over the remainder of the total : MARGIN

   c : the preponderant quantity or share

 4 : the group or political party whose votes preponderate

 5 : the military office, rank, or commission of a major

 -- majority (adjective)
Note that the definition Bellgarde-Smith uses is the one considered obsolete. 
 Majority in most cases is defined by superior numbers.  You get no argument 
from me regarding who dominates in Haiti.  That is apparent.  I refer to 
those not of the elite class in Haiti as "majority class" out of respect and 
to make a point.  The same point Aristide made in his bid for the presidency 
before and will again.  Democracy is a tough pill to swallow.