Balanced Melting Pot

Things I wish I’d known…

In Culture, Immigrant Students, Questions, Race Relations, Thoughts on December 8, 2008 at 9:22 pm

I am an avid reader of a website called Anti-Racist Parent and a while ago there was an article published providing tips for a student of color while attending a university that is not ethnically diverse. There a many great tips and I’ll let you read the article for yourself, but I wanted to talk about two of them which I wish I was given as far back as high school.


You can speak any language you damn well please, any time you please.


Wow! This statement is powerful in many ways. Simple and straightforward. Growing up, I was actually ashamed that I spoke another language. For the longest time, I would only answer my family members in English, just in case a friend heard. At that time, it was very uncool to be bilingual. I think many immigrants still hesitate to speak their native tongue when they think someone who cannot understand is in earshot. I have come across many Haitians who simply refuse to speak Haitian Creole; even when they know the Haitian they are speaking to cannot understand English.


You are not the spokesperson for your ethnicity.

This one I am ambivalent about. I agree that no one person can fully represent an entire culture and this is simply leads to stereotypes. But, I have heard (more times than I care to count) that I don’t look, talk, or seem like a Haitian. This leads me to believe that there is a misconception that Haitians look, talk or seem a certain way – all of them. So, I don’t know if it’s good that I sometimes felt that I could help eliminate those stereotypes by representing all Haitians, or if those people were going to stay ignorant regardless. In any case, I think it pushed me to set my goals and standards a little higher, which can’t hurt, right?


So, please share your thoughts on this article. Do they make you wish there was a handbook for minority students or do you think these issues are non-existent?

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  1. YjwgvT Thanks for good post

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