Haitians - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Haitians identity themselves as such and generally do not identify with the African-American, Black West Indian, or other Caribbean communities in North America. They have also chosen not to seek political or economic representation through established African-American or Latino political channels. Whatever their self-identity, once Haitians enter public schools or the work force, they are identified by Whites as Blacks and treated as such. In Canada, Haitians were encouraged to settle in Quebec and Montreal because they were thought to be French-speaking. But rather than learn French, some have chosen to affiliate with English-speaking Canadians through their choice of churches and schools for their children.

There are clear distinctions in the Haitian-American community between those who arrived in the past and those who arrived recently and between the poor and the wealthy ( bon moun). These distinctions are manifested in behavior, speech, place of residence, and degree of identification with the Haitian community. The wealthier, and more recently, the economically stable tend to live in suburbs, whereas the poor remain in the inner cities. In some communities there is a division between those who prefer to speak French and those who prefer Creole.

Political Organization. Haitian neighborhoods, including Little Haiti in Miami, are notable for the relatively few Haitian associations and organizations that have developed. In Miami, for example, the Haitian Chamber of Commerce is the only Haitian business association of any importance. Haitian neighborhoods are also notable for their peacefulness and the absence of conflict. Haitian politics center on Political developments in Haiti. From Duvalier's taking of power in 1957 until the present, the Haitian community in the United States has been active in opposing his regime and attempting to replace him. Haitians have also tried to become active Politically in the United States, with only limited success.

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