Balanced Melting Pot

Is your cultural glass half full, or half empty?

In Culture, Questions on November 24, 2008 at 10:43 am

Has anyone ever told you that you’re not [Caribbean, Asian, Hispanic] enough?

Well, no one has actually told me directly that they didn’t think that I was Haitian enough, but people sure have made me feel that way. Sometimes it’s just by making fun of the mistakes I make when speaking Haitian Creole – or it’s completely dismissing me from a conversation about childhood experiences because having grown up in the US, I couldn’t possibly understand.

While I haven’t let these experiences deter me from holding on to my Haitian roots, I think that many immigrants and/or children of immigrants who have spent the majority of their childhoods in the US are not as inclined to “fight the good fight”. Eventually, they gravitate more and more towards the American culture because there is actually more acceptance among those peers. I don’t know how many Haitian-Americans I have met who have completely lost the ability to speak Haitian Creole because they stopped trying altogether after being made fun of so many times for their accents.

As an adult, I started to wonder if people had established measurements of culture. For instance, does something I didn’t know or couldn’t say relating to the culture make me less Haitian? By virtue of being raised outside of Haiti, am I automatically losing points on the cultural meter? Can someone actually be more Haitian than another person?

What are your thoughts?

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  1. Great website, the information is good, and the content will keep me coming back, thanks again.

  2. Ah, the degree of culture issue. We (immigrants) all deal with this and in one way or another. I think most of us go through the process of our native culture being all that we know, to becoming aware that we are the “other” and thus different. Following this “dual consciousness” as termed by WEB Dubois, you either meld the two together, resist completely, or shun one and accept the other.

    I think people are who they are. I don’t believe in degree of culture.

  3. Neither do I. I think the culture dictating “measurements” ends up with the short end of the stick by decreasing the number of people who can identify with it.

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