October 6, 2013 by MJ
(The following post was submitted by 17 year old high school senior, Martine Louis)
Being a Haitian teen in 2013 is not as bad as it used to be 10, 20, or perhaps 30 years ago. Not many people deny being Haitian now a days like they used to. I remember the times when Haitians would fight other kids because it was so bad to be considered a Haitian. Now the opposite occurs. More people embrace being Haitian. At my school kids walk around with necklaces that have “Haiti” written on it or just have the Haitian flag.
Wyclef Jean and having DJ Khaled and a few other artists shout out Haitians in their songs made being a Haitian “cool”. Also the massive earth quake in 2010 got us to push aside what ever made us want to hide our ethnicity and it all came out.
Despite this all, being a Haitian teen in 2013 isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Now a days its more frustrating than anything. Having your ethnicity be the butt of many jokes and having such a cultural difference between yourself and your parents is enough to make you want to rip your hair out.
I’ve lost many friends because they couldn’t respect me and my background. The ignorance among people is ridiculous. So many people have told me that they KNOW (key word being know) all Haitians eat cats, and dogs like every day and that all Haitians do voodoo. Now that is not the case AT ALL.
The hardest thing about being a Haitian teenager in America though, is the cultural difference. Having parents who think that normal American teenage things is unacceptable for kids to do is kind of hard. A lot of things that I’ve wanted to do I couldn’t do because my dad thought it was bad or he just didn’t understand why I wanted to do it. Take shaving for example, its not out of the ordinary for a teenage girl to want to shave around middle school, my old man didn’t under stand that. It took MUCH pleading and begging and the help of my sisters to get him to agree to let me shave.
Although times are different, its still not easy. Being first generation American from another culture (in my opinion) makes being a teenager twice as hard.