Haitian Immigrants in Black America: A Sociological and Sociolinguistic Portrait

By Fiore Zéphir | Go to book overview

As members of the human race, Haitians, like any other Black group, are entitled to the same basic rights enjoyed by others: the right to a decent job, a decent living environment, decent medical care, and a meaningful education. They are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect; they have the right to be considered full-fledged individuals or gran moun, rather than members of a lesser social group. Finally, they are entitled to retain their ethnic identity, for the destruction of ethnicity is the destruction of one's essence or one's being. In sum, the Haitian immigrant simply wishes to be empowered to become a productive individual while remaining deeply rooted in his or her ethnic identity, without being cursed and spit upon. This wish transpires poignantly in the words of the renowned American poet of African descent, Langston Hughes:

A world I dream where black or white Whatever race you be Would share the boundaries of the earth And every man is free.11


NOTES
1.
For a specific example of discrimination against Third World immigrants, see Baer's ( 1994) article about the Vietnamese refugees in California. See also Takaki ( 1989) for a complete history of Asian immigrants in America. In fact, Takaki cautions about "the myth of the model minority" and states that "actually, in terms of personal incomes, Asian Americans have not reached equality" (pp. 474-75). Moreover, he recounts numerous examples of discrimination against Asian Americans, which has resulted in the killing of several members of this racial "minority" (pp. 474-91).
2.
For more on bilingual education, see O. Garcia ( 1991); Padilla, Fairchild, and 2Valadez, ( 1990); and Fradd and Tikunoff ( 1987).
3.
For a very useful discussion on the legal issues involved in bilingual education, see Fradd and Vega ( 1987), Crawford ( 1989), and Malakoff and Hakuta ( 1990).
4.
As reproduced in Nieto ( 1992: 162).
5.
For a description of the goals, principles, and strategies of multicultural education, see Banks ( 1981, 1991), Gollnick and Chinn ( 1986), R. Garcia ( 1991), Nieto ( 1992), Grant ( 1992); and Sleeter and Grant ( 1994).
6.
"Haitian Educators Work for Education Reform in Time of Crisis" (vol. 11, no. 16, October 6, 1994).
7.
It is useful to recall informants' statements reported in chapter 3.
8.
These verses are from an ode delivered by James Russell Lowell at Harvard University in 1861 and reproduced in Glazer ( 1987: 19).
9.
These words are borrowed from Fishman ( 1978) and are quoted in O. García's introductory chapter ( 1991: 10).
10.
As quoted in Takaki ( 1987a: 12). Allan Bakke was a student who was not admitted to the University of California-Berkeley Medical School. He filed a suit against the school, claiming that affirmative action discriminated against him as a White person and that it constituted "reverse discrimination."
11.
As reproduced in Bryce-Laporte ( 1980: 471).

-160-

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Haitian Immigrants in Black America: A Sociological and Sociolinguistic Portrait
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Maps vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Part I - Haitian Immigrants: Sociological Dimensions 1
  • 1 - Haitians in New York City 3
  • Notes 22
  • 2 - Premigration Experience of Haitian Immigrants 25
  • Notes 40
  • 3 - Emergence and Essence of Haitian Immigrant Ethnicity 43
  • Notes 67
  • 4 - Haitians' Responses to African Americans 69
  • Notes 96
  • Part II - Haitian Immigrants: Sociolinguistic Dimensions 97
  • 5 - Language and Ethnicity in the Haitian Immigrant Context 99
  • Notes 120
  • 6 - Patterns of Language Use of Haitian Immigrants 123
  • Notes 143
  • 7 - Haitians, American Cultural Pluralism, and Black Ethnics 145
  • Notes 160
  • Appendix - Interview Questions 161
  • Bibliography 167
  • Index 177
  • About the Author *
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