Prof. Claire Lu Thomas
February 19, 2009
The Haitian Culture vs. The American Culture
I was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, so technically I’m considered American. Right? My parents where both born and raised in St. Marc, Haiti. My parents divorced when I was 5. I was raised in a single-parent home with no knowledge of who my father was except for his name, a couple of photographs, and a visit every 5-10 years. At the age of 16 I was adopted by my father and his wife, who is African American. Most people think that this is not considered a formal adoption, but the process is the same. The legalities are the same and the emotions are the same especially when this is the first time the child is ever alone with there biological parent or when one parent has sole custody of the child. Both the child and the parent view each other as complete strangers. The need for this information is to explain how and why I feel trapped between two cultures, my Haitian traditions and my African American heritage.
There are many differences between the two cultures, besides language, food, clothing and music. The list of differences between the two cultures is endless. Lets take marriage for instances, unlike the American “Cinderella Story”, young men and women in Haiti are married through arrangement. Parents choose their children’s mates based upon what they feel to be in the best interest of their child. Whether the husband or wife is chosen because of unplanned pregnancy, money, property/land, prestige, or looks it would never be for LOVE. Marriages due to unplanned pregnancies are rushed and the pregnancy is a secret because it is a disgrace for a women to be wed impure (not a virgin) unless she is a widow.
One would believe that pregnancy would not be an example of dissimilarity between the two countries, but it is. Throughout the developing world pregnancy is fraught with danger, but more so in Haiti than in the USA. Haiti is the country...