to be so different. He views affiliation as a positive thing that could enhance the
chances of Haitians' success.
The "settler" strategy requires several behavioral modifications on the part of
Haitians. First, it requires them to view America as their new home and to want
to feel part of it. Second, it means to become more actively involved with
American affairs. Since Haitians are submerged into the Black population and are
considered members of the Black community in the broader sense by the
American system of racial classification, educating themselves about the Black
American experience, culture, and history would seem to be a logical step toward
adaptation into the community of resettlement and, by extension, into the
country of resettlement. Haitians who have adopted this strategy vouch for its
effectiveness, and they say that its fosters more harmonious relationships among
all Black groups, and certainly contributes to their progress and their feeling part
of America. Adaptation to a new country, by no means, implies a denial of one's
nation of origin and cultural distinctiveness. It simply means being willing to
learn and appreciate differences while taking pride in and valuing one's own
heritage. It the same vein, it would be desirable for African Americans to become
more educated about the perspectives of its newest members, since there is ample
evidence to suggest that these newcomers will likely stay for a long time, in
spite of what they say. Ultimately, a balance between ethnics and otherness may
well be the solution to improving Haitians' and African Americans' perceptions.
See Portes and Rumbaut's discussion ( 1990: 140) of ethnicity among
For Haitians, "lower class" is not necessarily a reflection of amount of income.
This point is emphatically stressed by one informant who disagrees with the
American system whereby "money makes you somebody." The informant goes on to
say that "the quality of Haitian culture implies that education comes before money."
The perception of Jamaicans as being also responsible for the deterioration of
"Black" neighborhoods is shared by the Jamaicans themselves. Indeed, Vickerman
( 1994: 93-94) reports that long-term Jamaican immigrants feel that the latest wave
of Jamaicans has a "core of undesirables who are more interested in selling drugs than
working for a living." In the eyes of the older contingent, such criminal activities
"bring down the image of West Indians as a whole."
Those are the words of Mackentoch Pierre, an 18-year-old student at Clara Barton
High School, and quoted in the New York Newsday's article "Roots of Rage: Out of Africa? Haitians See It Differently" ( April 4, 1994).
As reported by Molly Gordy, who wrote the New York Newsday's article.
The role of language as a social marker is discussed in the second part of this
The Haitian Creole word vye, although it is derived from the French word vieux
(old), does not have the same meaning. Vye is rather a derogatory term which means
"bad," "of no value," "low class," and, to a certain extent, "shameful." "Old" is
translated in Haitian Creole by the word gran moun, which can also mean adult.
Even before their migration to the United States, Haitians were very familiar
with Martin Luther King, Jr., and his ideals. In fact, in Port-au-Prince, there is a
street, formerly known as Ruelle Nazon, which was renamed Avenue Martin Luther
King in honor and admiration for Dr. King's contributions to civil rights and to the
advancement of all members of the Black race.