Classism, Colorism and Prejudice among Haitians

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Empress Verite

Classism, Colorism and Prejudice among Haitians

Post by Empress Verite » Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:05 am

One and Respe!

I have seen many posts on this site and elsewhere about the color issue among Haitians. And in my opinion, it is a problem. It truly seems to me that some Haitians of various hues truly believe that if you're white you're right and if you're brown get down and if you're black get back! That is how I have been consistently treated by Haitians and other blacks. Who decided that this was the case? Up until about a thousand years ago black was considered a beautiful color and it was revered too. For example, the great civilizations in North Africa and in the interiors of Africa were revered and admired by folks around the world. The Europeans who managed to travel to the continent only had praises for what they saw and experienced. In fact, the great universities in Mali at Timbuktu and elsewhere attracted great students such as Aristotle and Plato and Socrates and many others.
Many of the well known Theologians and scholars of the biblical era travelled to these parts to learn.

In addition, the interiors of AFrica contributed to great world events and civilizations. One of the major finds was documented in Conversations with Ogotomeli in which the Belgian Anthropologist wrote about the studies in astronomy and observations of the folks from that part of the interiors of Africa. He was shocked to find such a well developped astronomy amongst these folks. In fact, he tried to give the credit to some supposed missionaries who may have dropped the knowledge on the folks! In the Invention of Africa, the issue was well discussed and disected and it became clear that the image of AFrica and especially the interiors of Africa as a backwards and uncivilized place is a made up story by folks who wanted to justify slavery and colonialism. When Hegel accused the Africans of not taking advantage of the oceans like their European white counterparts he was showing his colors and making arg
uments that supported the status quo. The fact is maritime was a big pastime of Africans and it continues to be. Black African folks are also good swimmers contrary to racist dogma that would have us believe that black bodies are physiologically not built for that sport. That's crap! I studied human physiology and there is no such evidence. The only true difference between blacks and other folks is the melanin which is not a skeletal material but a chemical component of our being! Some Cubans in South Florida have said to me that black folks cannot swim because of our physique!

There are numerous texts and volumes of articles and proof of Black African output and grandeur before slavery circa the 15th century. I am appalled therefore by how we have been relegated to this inferior status. I am angered by the mistreatment and the isms that stain my interactions with folks who don't know this. Haitians who don't choose to educate themselves about the issues and who choose instead to remain ignorant ar
e the bad apples who we must weed out from our midst. They are destroying us and our potential because they hold us hostage to their own ignorance.

I have had the unfortunate experience of having to interact with these kinds of folks and unfortunately, they usually hold a position of power in the Babywrong s!#*/ystem and I have had to curtail my meetings with them for fear that they would destroy me. For example, in South Florida I used to work for some uncle tom and aunt jemima types of Haitians who truly believe in the hierarchy of races with whites at the top! I think that the only thing that Darwin had right was the fact that there is a survival issue in our eco system. However, I feel that it is the survival of the most conniving. Those who are willing to do the most damage and to sell out their own kinds to the highest bidder or for 40 pieces of silver will succeed more often than not.

Haitians who hold on to misguided erroneous and prejudiced views and isms are the problem. We have to w
eed them out of our midst once and for all. They seek to destroy us by any means and they will do this at no cost simply because of self hatred.

It is too bad that we engage in these isms that keep us back when we need to progress. We have to continue the work that our ancestors began so that we can return to our grandeur. And we can all go back with the right mind and heart.

Best, until next time.

Empress Verite

Prejudice, self hatred and ethnocentrism

Post by Empress Verite » Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:29 pm

Greetings all:

I thank you for your response and I agree that African Americans compete with Haitians and West Indians for low skill jobs. Unfortunately, they are encouraged by this capitalists mandate to be prejudice and stereotype Haitians and West Indians. Also, these negative feelings have resulted in violent acts committed against Haitians. This is why Wyclef sings about Black on Black at this time. And moreover, this is why Haitians are marginalized. The lack of economic opportunity results in terrible living conditions for Haitians in the United Snakes. In addition, the social alienation that we experience is tremendous. I was so hurt as I continue to be by some of the horendous and mean views that non-Haitian blacks hold against us. I could not believe the Africans at school in Amherst who treated me as a AIDS carrier and stinky popper. I was also treated as some kind of Voodoo practicing Ma
nbo who was out to kill and steal from everyone. I grew tired of these misconceptions that hurt me so badly and I am still appalled at the reactions now even from Haitians.

The reason that I posted this new thread because at this time I felt that it was truly apropos. These new reselections of the shrub and his administration was pushed in South Florida by a right wing Haitian elite who just wanna be close to the white power structure. As we speak I believe that Latortue is making yet another trip here to meet with Jeb Bush's special Task force on Haiti. I feel that these Haitians who belong to the old garde. The folks like Petion who had a lot of interactions with the Latins and Europeans. As such they feel well placed to guide their people in the right direction. These are misguided notions that are fueled primarily by racism, colorism, classism, and ethnocentrism. They believe in the hierarchy of races with white placed at the top and black at the very bottom. And unfortunately, so many of us have
bought into this because we have no s/heroes to help us fight these oppressive forces. Moreover, I realize that there are differences between color prejudices found among black Haitians of different hues (with the more white looking ones feeling and behaving negatively against the darker ones) and prejudice that African Americans and West Indians or blacks from Other places (including Africa) hold against Haitians. The latter, in my view stems from a historical legacy whereby the Haitians became the only group of folks known to have successfully fought and overthrown the colonial power structure. Therefore, the Africans simultaneously hold a jealousy against us and a resentment of our heritage. They also see themselves as being more authentic than we are. The prejudice that Haitains experience at the hands of blacks from Elsewheres stems from self hatred. This self hatred has misled these black folks into believing that if one is a darker hue of black and is poorer in terms of material possessions and politi
cal power than one is inferior. How unfortunate a view this is. The Fugees and Jean Baptiste DuSable are some example of how the stone that the builder refused.... is the one used by David to beat Goliath.

I am just trying to make the point that as a social scientist I truly understand the differences and as a transnational Haitian I have experienced them first hand. My gripe is with the Haitian power structure that refuses to deal with these issues head on and chooses instead to fuel the root of these feelings by creating more schisms and feeding divide and conquer tactics. I used to work for these types of Haitians in South Florida, they create an atmosphere in the work space that favors white and in fact encourages the whites to be racist they seem envious of these white folk's power and color priviledges. In fact, I have heard that there were mixed race Ku Klux Klan members and after living in South Florida amongst these elitist Haitians, I believe it.

Truths means nothing to these people,
they love white and fear it. And they put everyone else in front of the Haitian irrespective of educational attainment or knowledge and skill. In fact, I was at a job where I had a higher educational attainment than the white folks and even some of the folks in charge but I was made to feel dumb and stupid. The white folks came unprepared, not knowing an ounce about Haitian culture or language and they were given the upper hand and carte blanche to treat the Haitians like Kakkka. I received my Masters of Arts in Anthropology from the Folklore program at UCBerkeley a well known and reputable research 1 University in the US. At these jobs I was constantly treated as an affirmative Action baby. As if I was not good enough to enter on my own and they had to create special measures for me to attend. Moreover, these Haitians who went out of their way to make me feel this way and to create this misconception were themselves beneficiaries of Affirmative Action which they experienced primarily through immigration po
licies that piggybacked or were back by Affirmative Action initiatives.

Deye Pot Tounen Devan Kay. This is how the elites in South Florida feel about folks like me. In Haiti I would be their ti moun and in the US because of my birth right I have been able to accomplish some success through education. These folks hold steadfast to these eroneous notions because they believe that it will give them the power that they seek. Is this how Petion felt when Bolivar betrayed him? Is this how countless of others who have given their lives for the American Revolution felt? We cannot keep fighting on their terms we have to fight for the truth and live it!

Finally, I work to fight off the yoke of downpression from me by living a life that puts my ethnicity, gender, class background and race in the center. Moreover, as a Nyabinghi Rasta I strive to be at peace with myself by acknowleging that there were more powerful ones who have already fought to give me freedom. I choose to continue this legacy and to
continue to struggle so that the truth can come to light.

Kenbe,

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