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5926: Re: "Blan" (fwd)

From: Dominique E s s e r <mabouye@escape.com>

on 11/23/00, Racine125@aol.com wrote:

>... Anti-white racism is quite prevalent among black Haitians, and
>"blan" is the quintessential pejorative...

  I truly fail to see above mentioned "anti-white racism" in Haiti. 
Since racism can be defined as a tool of power (racism is always 
related to power), beliefs and prejudices held by Haitians do not 
quite equate with racism by people of european descent towards people 
of other ancestries. While the prejudices are always deplorable it is 
dangerous and foolish to look at the racism that was necessary to 
support 500+ years of colonialism, slavery and genocide and speak of 
non-institutionalized racism in equal terms. Extreme right wing 
(racist) groups, as evident all over the internet, never tire of 
"racism against whites" as an integral part of fascist thinking.

>... I am sure there are Haitians who use this term without malicious 
>intent, just
>as there are whites who used the term "nigger" without malicious intent. ...

  To equate "blan" with terms such as "nigger" shows more than a 
certain indifference towards Haitian realities. "Blan", depending on 
context has more meanings than "white" and is not a cussword per se. 
While I am not fond of being labelled as "white" in the United 
States, I have no problem whatsoever with being called "blan" by 
Haitians. In Haiti this term is relatively unrelated to the construct 
of racism that accompanies "white" elsewhere. I am disturbed by such 
distortions of Haitian realities, but then what can one expect from 
people that disqualify themselves by writing racist blurbs (in a 
different thread) such as:

>What is at fault is the tendency in Haitian culture to
>view stealing, lying and magouj not as sins but as
>social skills!