Laguerre ( 1984: 155) asserts that "the Haitian immigrants make no conscious
decision to form an ethnic group; the racist structure of American society compels
them to use ethnicity in their adaptation process." However, it is precisely because
of this racist structure that Haitian ethnicity cannot be considered accidental or
unintentional. I think it is more judicious to argue, as I did, that Haitian immigrants
make a deliberate and conscious decision to organize themselves as an ethnic group
or a "self-conscious" group of people who value and affirm their traditions and
Charles ( 1990: 207), while observing that Haitian organizations in New York
City are "usually differentiated by class, color and regional place of origin." conludes
that "there is a tendency toward division and heterogeneity in the community."
While it is correct that such divisions exist, I do not believe that they impact on
Haitian ethnicity. Regardless of social class, the five dimensions of Haitian ethnicity
that I have identified throughout the chapter are very salient in the Haitian
An example of this type of involvement in Haitian affairs is the colloquium on
education organized by Haitian educators in Haiti and in the diaspora on the campus of City College of the City University of New York, August 5-7, 1994. The theme of
the colloquium was the participation of the tenth department (as Haitians of the
diaspora are called) in the establishment of a modern and democratic system of
education in Haiti. Since I attended the colloquium, I can confidently say that more
than three hundred people participated and engaged in a productive and frank
discussion of issues pertaining to Haitian education in Haiti. President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide gave the closing remarks to the galvanized audience.
A full discussion of this argument can be found in Charles ( 1990, 1992); Richman ( 1992); and Basch, Glick Schiller, and Szanton Blanc ( 1994, chapters 5 and 6).
An article published recently by Allan Nairn in The Nation ( October 24, 1994)
seems to corroborate the U.S. operations through the Haitian military and
paramilitary. The article "Behind Haiti's Paramilitaries" describes how the CIA
helped launch the paramilitary organization that became known as FRAPH and trained
its leaders. Furthermore, in an interview published in Black Issues in Higher
Education11, 16 ( October 6, 1994), the well-known Haitian scholar, Professor Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, contends that "[The Haitian people] see the Haitian army as
an American army by proxy. The Haitian army is an American army in Haiti" (p. 31).
The following designations were given: Black, Black American, Black
immigrant, Haitian, Haitian-American, American, African American, West Indian, Caribbean, French, and French American.
There was one exception to this. One informant ranked the designation "French"
third, and explained that most of this person's professional activities are conducted
in a francophone milieu.
The expression "black success story" is borrowed from the title of Model's
( 1991) article in which she states that cultural differences may motivate West Indians
to outperform native-born Blacks.
The Haitian expression gran moun can be seen in opposition to the label boy
used by the Whites during the segregation period in the United States to refer to any