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8081: Re: 8070: Dorce replies to Darian Arky (fwd)

From: LAKAT47@aol.com

In a message dated 05/27/2001 12:23:26 AM Pacific Daylight Time, Darian and 
Veronika <bezdomovci@earthlink.net>writes:

<< This will be the first time in my life that I have lived somewhere where 
the color of
 my skin will mark me as an outsider.  I suppose I might have done myself
 more credit had I been honest enough to acknowledge that my insecurity stems
 as much from that realization as from any musings about criminal psychology.
 Though I've spent 15 years away from the United States, I suddenly feel that
 the skills and experiences that have enabled me to be less of a stranger in
 a strange lands will not do much to compensate for my fundamental
 foreignness in Haiti.  Returning to the context of crime, it is often said
 that the best way to avoid becoming a victim in a life-threatening situation
 is to "humanize" yourself in the mind of your would-be assailant.  How could
 I possibly hope to do that in a country where everything that I am
 represents the very essence of what many Haitians might very well consider
 to be primarily responsible for their own dehumanization?  I don't plan to
 become preoccupied by these concerns, but I feel it's healthy to examine
 them. >>
It is good you reexamined your fears and owned up to the fear of being 
considered a minority by way of skin color.  It is a humbling experience for 
a white man especially, I am sure.  You will be happy to know that you are 
not seen as the enemy in Haiti despite your foreignness and the color of your 
skin.  For some strange reason, most Haitians like Americans.  If you are 
nice and not aloof and arrogant, you will be taken at face value.  More than 
whites do for blacks in this country.  The sad truth is, whites are not 
considered to be responsible for the majority Haitian's 
dehumanization......their own countrymen, do that all by themselves.  The 
elite class, with whom you are most likely to socialize, are the culprits.  
If you are friendly with majority class Haitians, you will be looked on with 
derision by wealthy Haitians.  If you immerse yourself in Haitian culture you 
will be welcomed with open arms by poorer Haitians.  If you stay in 
Petionville with the other embassy staff and wives, you will get along with 
the Francophiles but never know what Haiti is all about.  Unfortunately, it 
is rare that embassy staff get involved with the people (I mean "the 
people").  They usually stick to themselves or hobnob with the ruling class.  

A little background on the person giving you such a rough time (I am less 
than charmed with my country's government at this time).  I am white, a 
native Californian, married to a Haitian whom I met in Haiti.  I have been 
going to Haiti since 1979.  I used to go by myself and many times I found 
myself to be the only white person on the street.  I have been out alone, in 
downtown Port-au-Prince late at night with not a care in the world.  As a 
woman, I wouldn't do this in a major city in the US.  I have always been 
treated very warmly by everyone I have met.  I might have been a curiosity 
but always with a smile.  I know things are different now, and the United 
States is not the benign Uncle Sam of yesteryear so there may be animosity 
(and rightly so!) toward those representing the government.  Nonetheless I 
wish you the best and I hope your time in Haiti is an eye-opener.  If you're 
open to it, it can change you forever...;).  

Warning: if you do fall in love with the real Haiti, you will be at odds with 
your government...;)

Kathy Dorce~