Friday, July 10, 2009
You either got to be a Nurse, Doctor, Businessperson, Lawyer or Engineer, in order to be a person of importance according to Haitians.

Haitian mentality in a nutshell.

Ask a Haitian native or a Haitian American college student what they're studying, and I guarantee you that the majority of the ladies will say Nursing and the majority of the lads will say Business or Engineer. Now ask them why they picked those subject matters, and you'll either get well I want to help people (Nurse, Doctor), or the bold will say, "I need a career that makes money" (Business, Engineer), or you'll get the (my favorite) "I dunno" aka "my parents told me so". A lot of Haitians are very artistic, musical, poetic but yet we limit ourselves to jobs that requires us to sit in front of a box (PC) within a box (cubicle) and tek tek tek making someone else filthy rich (ooooooo I wonder who that could be).

When I was graduating from High School, I told my mother that I wanted to major in Art and she almost had a stroke. She looked at me said "KISA?! [WHAT]" and called everyone in the family saying that I lost my damn mind and that I was setting myself up for failure. She made sure to change my mind, by pointing to her skin everyday saying discordantly, "You see this, you you see this right here, ou nwo [you're black] ti neg [niggers] can't do just ANY job because of this". So the punk that I was, listened to her brainwashed ass and became the confused college student who changed their major 10 billion times and played it safe. Don't get me wrong I don't have any regrets, but I do wish that I had the ovaries to DREAM BIG and made my dreams my reality at a much younger age. My passion is art and writing; however I never thought of making a career out of them. I always sought them as side jobs or hobbies, something to do for fun, but never as a medium to encourage change. Granted I sort of rebelled against my mother's wishes of me becoming a Madame la Doctoresse and majored in a hard-to-get-a-job field, but I still have that complex Haitian mentality that pursuing anything else than Medical, Law etc are not considered intelligent work. I still struggle trying to figure out what I should get my Masters in and how I can incorporate art with something intelligent. I am pretty sure that NO culture is perfect, but why is it that countries that are considered "3rd world" have these complex issues? Yes it is true that we have dealt with some of the more socially destructive aspects of the great lie, that all humans have a potential equality, but why are we as Black people trapped by the limitation of our imagination by believing that our ability is limited. It's time we start listening to our hearts and being true ourselves. It's time we start taking risk and stop playing it safe. It's time for a change within; it's time to let our creative speak for itself and be heard.


Anonymous said...

As a 31 yr/old Haitian/American man, I understand your dilemma. Here's the way I see things... Haiti is a "free" country but the mental, emotional, and societal effects of slavery last generations. The Haitian culture is still in the process of "coming out of Egypt" in many ways. Haitians have never experienced a well functioning society and are incredibly ignorant and opposed to anything outside of their experience. I went into college as a engineering major, denying my passions of business and computer graphics. I wasted thousands of dollars and years I can't get back in my attempt to appease the parents. They are notorious for trying to live vicariously through their kids. I know this is an old article and I hope you're living your dream.

Ina said...

I've always pleased my parents as a child. Til this day I try to please them but I learned a long time ago that I had to live with my career choices. So, when ever they mentioned nursing, I told them that being a nurse wouldn't make me happy. Today I am happy getting my B.S in special education.

Anonymous said...

Go ina, Haitian parents are loving, BUT they are a bunch of dictators. They want to pic your friends, career, spouse, the church you attend, how you dress, how you answer your phone( "God bless you"), when to answer your phone (m-relew ou pap pran telefone nan!) I call you but you won't pick up. It does not even matter if you could not at the time. They can sometime drive their own children to do bad things because they don't get that kids have real feeling that can get hurt. Kid: mom, dad i can't become an engineer. Parents: why? Kid: I am not good in math. Parents: you are not like me you are dumb. Why can't you be like that guy's kid from church.

Ina said...

You nailed it! That's the story of our lives! I call it "Haitian way of life".