Haitian Immigrants in Black America: A Sociological and Sociolinguistic Portrait

By Fiore Zéphir | Go to book overview

perceived as less subordinate in American society.

Chapter 6 looks at the linguistic heterogeneity of Haitian immigrants and analyzes their patterns of language use in various contexts: higher density networks of family and friends both in the home and outside the home environment, and lower density networks outside the circle of intimates. Additionally, it examines language contact phenomena, such as borrowing and code-switching, and provides a succinct description of the Creole, French, and English spoken by the Haitian immigrants. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the factors that facilitate language maintenance among Haitian immigrants.

Chapter 7 looks at the implications of the study for American cultural pluralism, particularly in the field of education. It offers some thoughts about a meaningful education for Haitian students, and it argues that the fallacious notion of a monolithic minority and Black population cannot judiciously guide educational programs designed to empower all students. Ethnic differences need to be taken into consideration in designing those programs whose objective ought to be to allow all students to reach their full potential. Finally, the chapter ends with a few remarks about Black ethnics and suggests that color alone is not sufficient to create an overarching solidarity among the various Black groups who choose to retain their distinctiveness based on nationality and culture.


NOTES
1.
For more information about the immigration patterns of this period, see New York City Department of City Planning (1992a).
2.
For information about Haitian migration before the twentieth century, see Stafford ( 1987a: 132-33), Preeg ( 1985: 142), and Charles ( 1990: 10-14).
3.
For more information about illegal Haitian migration, see Stepick ( 1987).
4.
As reported in the 1993 Statistical Abstract of the United States. I am indebted to my colleague Daniel Scroggins for his tireless assistance with the drawing of the charts that appear with Tables 1 and 2.
5.
As indicated in the 1992 Statistical Yearbook.
6.
The recent waves of Haitian boat people consist primarily of poor Haitians, supporters of President Aristide, who are fleeing political repression from the military government.
7.
I have had personal communication with Roland Kouessi Amoussouga, a lawyer who was part of the United Nations civil mission both in Haiti and in Guantanamo Bay. According to Mr. Amoussouga, the U.S. Defense Department Joint Task Force puts the number of Haitians in Guantanamo Bay, as of July 1994, at 16,682.
8.
As reported in the 1990 Statistical Yearbook.
9.
As reported in the 1991 Statistical Yearbook. The Miami figure is in part a reflection of the status adjustment of Haitian immigrants detained in the Florida area.
10.
As reported in the 1992 Statistical Yearbook.
11.
This figure was determined by culling the various statistics reported by the New York City Department of City Planning ( 1992a: 32), and the 1990-1992 Statistical Yearbooks.
12.
As suggested by the statistics reported by the New York City Department of

-22-

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