Haitian's Community Focus and its Impact on Education

As an educator, thinking of the test scores and performance of K-12 blacks, in our case the Haitians, imagining what will the next generations look like, I am sharing these reflections.

Recently, I wrote about the focus of Haitians in the past 20 years, from the l980's boat people phenomena to the 1991-94 coup d'état. Now that we have another political focus, the Haitian life and active participation in the United States and other Western countries again has been deterred.

I am wondering if the majority of the voices that the Haitian community and the youth are listening to, see among them most of the time are not inclined toward learning and reading, and most Haitian homes have no books,

what role models do the children have?

How much learning is going on?

What kind of Haitians we will have 2, 3 generations down the road?

I wish "leaders" in the diaspora were thinking about this 20, 30 years ago.

How can children be inspired to learn if most Haitians don't have the habits of buying books, going to the library, or the museums, or new places.

Informative printing materials are not available in many places that Haitians often go, be it barber shops, hairdressers or churches.

Most Haitian churches have no bulletins.

The less than a handful that do don't provide information on books to read, summer schools, after school programs, conferences, voting days or dates, or information that would help Haitians engage or be active in this country.

Most lay and religious ministers don't mention those educational and engaging activities in the pulpits, the internet or encourage those learning activities either.

Neither do many radio or TV hosts promote reading and learning.

If the majority of lay and religious ministers themselves don't read, given their influence on the community, what should educators except in the schools?

What should one make from when in Boston, the academic capital of the world, Haitian newspapers have to stop their distribution because of lack of readership?

Are the "leaders" in the Haitian communities preparing future leaders?

I would like to suggest this common adage,"If you want to lead, you have to read."

I have kept in mind an advice that a third generation Chinese born in Jamaica gave me.

She said when her grandmother was leaving China, her mother told to her, "Wherever you go, taste what the people eat, read what they write, and go where they go."

As a Haitian, she told told me, get some vans bring the people in your community places.

When she said that to me, it came to mind that I always see the Asians in busses in Harvard Sq. at Symphony Hall, at the Museum of fine Arts, almost every where.

If one is fortunate to travel around the world, you will see Asians all over.

But I don't see blacks as tourists even in African countries. They go to study, to buy, not for vacation or plainly visiting.

As Haitians, do we travel around Haiti, just to see other parts of the country?

When tourists were coming to Haiti, we saw the Asians. We called them "Chinwa"(Chinese).

I was in several countries in West Africa and did not expect to see so many Asians in Africa.

How can one bring Haitian children to visit museums if there isn't an atmosphere, a forum just to bring this idea.

People don't talk with one another.

Education in this country and in many other cultures is a community concern.

Communities like Muslims, Jews, Asians, and Ethiopians have Saturday or after school programs ran by the adults.

They organize recreational and educational activities for the children in their respective communities.

Most of them use their own money.

They don't depend on grants to supplement their children's education.

In most Haitian communities, investing in learning is not a concern.

We tend to be consumers, not investors. We don't invest in human beings, in their formation or in their education.

Each family sends their children to school, learn a trade, a profession and get a job to buy a nice house , a car, put some money in the bank.

That's it.

Given the test scores, the number of black males in jail, those who are dying of AIDS, gang violence and many more issues in the Haitian community, the next generation may not be able to achieve these dreams.

It is the work of Asians from all Asian countries that give them the image of a "Model Minority."

When one gets to know these communities, they have problems also.

There is domestic violence, generation gap, alcoholism, gang and other issues. But the Asian students' test scores are high.

They are known to do well by themselves.

Therefore, those who do well cover for those who don't.

But in the Haitian community, like in the black community, we are not enough who can cover for the entire race.

A lot of us are trying very hard to make a difference. But it is very difficult.

I brought the perfomance of the K-12 students to let my fellow Haitians know having a nice car, a house, money in the bank, or beeing seen by a group of Haitians in church or be heard on the radio is not a final accomplishment.

The world still sees us as poor black folks. The host western countries see us as marginalized immigrants.

We need to collectively strive to get ourselves out of that image as a group.

The black Americans have an expression "HNIC" (Head Negro in Charge). We see that a lot in black communities.

By being visible or audible in the small Haitian circles, we think we are"leaders."

Most of us "leaders" need to think how we are preparing 21rst century global agents and be one ourself.

Article by: Nekita

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All Comments (7)

Topic says...

We all must come together and take OUR country out of the dark. As you know it can not be done with one person alone, We need soldiers to fight this long lasting war. I am the President of an upcoming organization called Young Haitians of America, We plan to help build and be a part of a new Haiti.

Please contact me via E-mail for more information...let us help build A heart in our BEAUTIFUL motherland of HAITI.

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Topic says...

Hi Miki,

I read your reply and although I wasn't the one who wrote the article, somehow I don't believe that the writer was comparing us to the Asians.

He was simply saying from what I understand, the asians are Model Minority because they focus on education and made it their first priority and as you can see it does pay in the long run. We as Haitians can do the same If we really want a better future for us and our children.

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Topic says...

This is a great article.

Reading is important to both young and old. I'm a Tutor in one of the Elm. school in Atlanta and it is our duty to target the low scoring children in Atlanta public schools.

Unfortunately, there aren't any little Haitian boys or girls in my school and I wish we had some here. Just as you have mention in the article, it is very rare in the haitian community by what I have seen that organizations are promoting litaracy.

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Topic says...

I could not say it clearly than you did. You have brought a great analysis in the current Haitian and Black community as well. Actually, we don't read. We think we know everything by being arrogant, self-fish, and ready to discriminate against one another.

I knew about the power of books.

Knowledge are inserted in books, and nowhere.

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Topic says...

I think the writer provides clearly some good solutions.

Go back and read the article, and you will see.

Let me help you: We GOT TO READ. Start going to educational events and places.

Buy books for your kids...read books...etc

I was just repeated what the writer had said. And about you?

Can you provide some solutions?

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Topic says...

ok lol i agree with everything u said besaciy but y r u comparing us to the

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Topic says...

Very nice article!
As we all know it is always easier to identify problems than to solve them. What are the proposed solutions.

Best Regards.


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