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#3334: Haitian Stereotyping : Reply to Rosanne
Lord forgive them for they don't know what they are doing
Dear Rosanne. How old are the kids that are "teasing" your kid? This is
unfortunately nothing unusual in Haiti, even though people are used to seing
white skin folks. To me this is a blend of jealousy, envy and a little bit of
malicious delight at getting back at the "blan" whom they rightfully or not
blame for their chronic misfortune. Believe it or not, this same attitude is
also manifested towards light skinned Hatians for similar reasons. In the
case of the latter, the behavior is somewhat more justified because of the
open contempt with which a sizable proportion of that group treat those with
a higher skin melanin content than theirs.
Am I lying, you Haitian folks?
As a proof of my initial theory to explain the motives behind this so called
teasing, just look at the attitude of those with a high melanin content,
particularly those that come from the lower economic and social strata who
suddenly make it in the political arena or the military ranks. (Aristide of
course closed this door). Their new wife or mistress in the majority of cases
is going to have less skin pigmentation than they do. Does that happen by
chance? Simple laws of statistics would tell us otherwise.
Am I lying Haitian folks?
However, you cannot compare this attitude to that of most non emancipated
American blacks which is one of outright hatred towards anything white. The
difference I contend is simply one of different history. There has not been
such an outright and open discrimination ( even though some has always
existed and still does exist) against the black skinned haitians on the part
of the lighter skinned ones. There has been of course more intermingling, and
it is not unusual to have members of the same family covering a wide spectrum
of skin shades. Most importantly, Haitians and black americans have quite
different historical baggage to deal with. The Haitians are the one that did
the lynching after Independence and not the other way around. So, Ms Rosann,
I don['t believe there is really anything threatening in those catcalls your
son is being subjected to. Tell him to learn to take it, be good natured
about it and pretty soon the same cat callers will be vying to be his
friends. Like trying the shoe on the other foot, so to speak. Everything will
be fine. If he stays in Haiti long enough and keeps mingling with the masses
they might one day want to elect him President.
You Haitian folks this is one of our demons, let's face it and deal with it.