BY: KATHRINA JANE TIANGCO
In Haiti, the locals value their family the most. The children are considered to be a precious gift and are, therefore, treated with importance. However, most of us are unaware of some of their culture, practices, and beliefs. In this regard, here’s a list of some facts about the average Haitian family, to give you a quick view on a Haitian’s perspective on life.
- Haitian citizens are raised in a matriarchal culture, where the women are in charge of the household. The men, however, still have the upper hand and control. The majority of Haitian marriages are common-law. Polygamy in men is socially acceptable in Haitian culture, although largely unspoken.
Thus, it is common for single mothers to raise their children while working to earn money for their family. They are often left with all the familial burdens. However, when it comes to cultural equality of gender, Haitian women are often low on the list. This is why most of them suffer and experience domestic abuse.
- Haitians often aid in the financing of fellow Haitian immigrants in the US. Haitian migrants who have entered the US also oftentimes remain responsible for their family members who are still in Haiti. In addition, they tend to financially support new settlers because they are expected to do so. They will take in refugees even if they do not have direct ties with them.
- Children are given priority. They are viewed as a gift and a blessing from God. Family members, extended families, and even whole Haitian communities often take the responsibility of raising the children.
Haitian women would rather go hungry so they can send their children to private school, especially since Haitians heavily value the importance of education in order to improve their children’s social status. Most children are delayed in some aspects such as toilet training and independence in eating and dressing. However, children are actually taught to be independent and resourceful at an early age.
Children are ordinarily disciplined using physical means. As an outsider, you may think the children are being abused, but this is simply a part of their culture and rearing practices.
- There is a large gap between the upper class and lower class citizen. An upper-class Haitian tends to have a lighter skin tone, better education, and way more money. The lighter skin tone generally comes from generations of interbreeding amongst the mulatto upper class in Haitian history.
- When it comes to authority, Haitian children are raised to be obedient to their parents, their mothers especially. A lack of respect and discipline for people of authority is absolutely forbidden and frowned upon.
- The elders are looked upon as an authoritative source of knowledge and many seek their advice. Elderly parents often reside with their children’s families.
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Read more of the original story via Salisbury.edu.
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