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#1400: For Haitian-American students : A reply
In response to Nekita:
I-dentity is an every day struggle. It's a matter of being comfortable and
proud of who you are, while respecting and accepting others. Growing up in
the US I can say that I've seen very different approaches with dealing with
being Haitian and African-American. Sometimes it's pretty scary!
Many Haitian.Americans. feel uncomfortable around strictly Haitian people.
They feel that they will be criticized for their mode of dress, way they
speak or don't speak, for the company they choose to keep, and for the
choices they make in life. There is definitely a difference but unfortunately
not an appreciation or acceptance.
Sometimes I feel like some H.A.'s try to live up too much to either "Black"
stereotypes or "White" stereotypes. I don't know if they are conscious of it
or not, but I'm convinced that at one point in their life, they have been.
When I was younger, I equated success and power with white people so I
emulated them in hopes of achieving what I perceived to be a good, privileged
life. As I got older, I wanted to feel closer to the people who looked like
me so I stopped being just Haitian and identified with being Black also. It
took awhile to get the lingo together but I got a hang of it. I never
perfected the lingo, but I perfected the love and acceptance of all black
I-dentity is done by self. Some things are plain to see; sex, color. Those
things that are not, have to be defined by the individual. You can't force
anyone to act like a woman or act Black. Or Haitian. It almost hurts me to
say it because I speak slamming creole, dance Konpa like a pro, throw down on
rice and beans, cornmeal and any other healthy Haitian meal. I'd like to
think I embody the essence of the Haitian female. But someone else might
think I'm not Haitian enough. I was born in the US, I speak perfect English,
I love hip-hop, I hate griot! And until last April, I had never even been to
There are some Haitians who have this pointless endless argument with other
Haitians about skin color and race. I love being black. I love being Haitian.
If someone else has issues with it why would I want to try to force them to
be in my camp? Sounds foolish. Let them stay in LaLa Land. I'm sure someone
else will let them know eventually. I-dentity begins at home. I guess the
most valuable advice I have to offer is not to shun anything that culturally
belongs to you. Be informed.
Peace and Guidance