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Haitian Flag Day: A new style?

Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 8:38 am
by admin
Yesterday, for HFD, my 17-year old son went to school with a Haitian Flag pinned on his shirt, and covering most of his (rather HUGE) chest. He goes to the public high school, in Maplewood NJ, which has an increasingly significant number of Haitian students

This morning, I asked him whether that display had attracted comments from other students and staff. He answered "yes, a lot" and it definitely was all "thumbs up".

As you know, since Wyclef Jean sported a Haitian Flag bandanna to receive his Grammy Award, Haitian self-identification has received a huge boost, especially among Haitian immigrant youth and first-generation Haitian-American students. That's what I have observed over the years in New Jersey and New York, within the schools and without. Haitian Flag Colors are proudly displayed on all sorts of garments: pins, scarves, skirts, dresses, wristpads, hats, even sneakers!!

That is an absolutely remarkable phenomenom! But, in the back of my head, I wondered whether it would prove to be just a temporary fad... so I always made a point of asking my children, year after year, to give me an idea of just how many students in school were participating in this cultural affirmation and self-identification. "Even more than last year," they always assured me.

But this morning, there was a twist in the answer. My son told me that A LOT OF NON-HAITIAN STUDENTS HAVE STARTED TO WEAR HAITIAN FLAG COLORS ON THIS DAY TOO. That it was becoming a matter of style. And that a lot of students felt that it was cool to be Haitian on that day.

Hmm... somebody, pinch me! Is this really happening?

I knew that a vast number of non-Irish descendants feel IRISH on Saint Patrick's Day. Are we witnessing the rise of Americans feeling HAITIAN on Haitian Flag Day???????

Please share your thoughts on this topic.


P.S. --- Is my son's observation indicative of a trend? He mentioned that several non-Haitians students were also wearing the Haitian Flag, either to show solidarity with their Haitian friends, or simply because it has become the cool thing to do on Haitian Flag Day. So the intent of my note was to solicit some additional observations of that effect on American youth in our schools and whether you think that it will evolve to the point where a whole lot of people will identify as Haitian on May 18, the way that a lot of non-Irish people proudly sport green on Saint Patrick's Day.

What do you think?