Haitians - Kinship, Marriage and Family

The networks of kin ties and various family forms in rural Haiti have largely disappeared in urban North America. In fact, many Haitian families in North America are fragmented, with some having members still in Haiti, and others with members in two or more places in North America or elsewhere. Ties are regularly maintained among such kin, however, with the ultimate goal of family members settling near one another. Household composition in North America is often determined by the economic status of the household and its role in the chain migration process. In the North American context, male dominance in the family has disappeared and Haitian families are more egalitarian. In two-generation families, in which the children have been born in North America, conflict has emerged between parents who speak Haitian Creole and emphasize Haitian culture and children who speak English and identify with the African-American community. Education has been markedly difficult for Haitian children because of the language difference and because Haitian parents, while valuing education, Traditionally vest considerable authority in the schools and play a less active role than do White American parents.

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