Proud to be Haitian

The first thing people say when I tell them I’m Haitian is that I don’t look like it because I have red hair, or they say something like “you look pretty for a Haitian.” Seriously? Is that supposed to be a compliment? Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s a pretty stupid thing to say.

That’s an insult on so many levels. Just take a second to think about it, not only are you saying that I’m ugly, you’re talking about my family and my history. It’s a shame that in 2012, on top of having to deal with racism, sexism and classism, I have to deal with people constantly trying to convince me that I should be ashamed of who I am simply because I am a product of Haitian parents. People talk about it as if it’s a curse or an infectious disease; a person is not “a Haitian” they are Haitian.

I don’t care if you find it funny or if it’s a stereotype that you claim is true because believe it or not, we make stereotypes true. And by that, I mean people allow them to be true by using them to prejudge others without realizing that there are no facts to defend it.

I’m disgusted when people say that Haitians are dirty or that they stink and can’t dress because have you met every Haitian person in the world to make a statement like that? No, you haven’t.

That’s the problem with people today. Instead of trying to learn about a different culture, you would rather poke fun and use things you’ve heard other people say to form an opinion about something you know nothing about.

Forget what you’ve heard; ignorance is not bliss or amusing for that matter. I don’t find discrimination, stupidity, or disrespect funny. Please think about what you say before you say it. It will save you some embarrassment. And just to set the record straight, I do not do voodoo, so don’t ask me about it. I don’t eat cats and I don’t plan to in the future.

My family did not come here on a boat. They flew, legally. And just because my hair is red does not mean that I’m adopted. I’m Haitian and proud to be. I love my beautiful Haitian people, Creole, my Kompa music and my blue and red flag. If you don’t like it, that’s just too bad.