Posts Tagged ‘Immigrants’

Self Identification

Monday, October 1st, 2012


My Black Apple Doll

If memory serves me correctly, that was sort of the whole reason for starting this blog. I was trying to figure out how to help my children identify with their Haitian culture while growing up in an American environment. Then about a year later it turned into me trying to get the to identify with their Haitian culture, keep them connected to the American culture they left behind and appreciate the Venezuelan culture in which they were being immersed. Complicated, I know.

Remember back in February when I wrote about identifying with African-American culture, even though I grew up in a predominantly white area? I never thought that my children would have the similar experience, because South Florida is a thousand times more diverse and they move more than I did when I was their age. So, it really surprised me when I noticed that my daughter was really into hip hop. Not only that, she sometimes imitates phrases and slang used in shows featuring African-Americans (I do NOT condone stereotyping, but unfortunately American television is still very segregated).

The thing is she doesn’t watch a whole lot of TV featuring African Americans and her exposure to hip hop is pretty much what I listen to, which is vast  but infrequent. I still can’t figure out where this influence is coming from, however I’m happy that the exposure has stuck. Without going into cultural overkill, I’d like my kids to be familiar and somewhat comfortable with various cultures; especially those predominantly comprised of brown people. So, score for me :-P

On the other hand, somehow the negative connotations about the continent of Africa has already seeped into her brain. After hearing her say once that she’s glad she’s not from Africa, we had a long conversation about why she felt that way and I’ve since made an effort to point out the medley of cultures there and how they positively influence the world.

Like I said, self-identity is a complicated issue in my house. It’s a good thing I’m up for the challenge :-)

A pleasant sad surprise

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?

I’m always saying how one of the downsides to raising Third Culture Kids is that they have a hard time forming bonds. I feel like my kids, especially my daughter who is 9, watch people come and go so much that they ‘ve learned not to get attached. In a way this helps with all the goodbyes, but on the other hand I think it’s healthy to be sad when people leave and long to see them again.

I’ve even mentioned this as one of my reasons for wanting to make sure my daughter goes to high school in the States. I feel like there’s a bond that gets formed coming in as freshmen and leaving as seniors. Not to say that it’s the only way, it’s just what I remember as my strongest feelings of attachment outside the home. Until this day, I still wonder, worry and hope the best for my high school classmates. Friends and family have reminded that every person is different – there are people who hated high school and I keep that in mind as my daughter’s personality continues to develop.

So, on the last day of school I had a great shock as we were leaving when I saw not one, not two, but a whole bunch of kids sobbing. At first I thought it was for some sad news that they all must have learned, and then it dawned on me – this is the last day of school and some of them won’t be coming back next year. Add that to the fact that many of them leave immediately after school ends to spend summer vacation abroad and this means goodbyepossibly forever.

I don’t know, this experience has thrown a wrench in my thinking. Obviously, my friends and family are right in that it just depends on the person and his/her personality. I’m not going to assume that placing my daughter in a situation where I was able to form bonds will do the same for her. I also have to keep in mind that people show attachments in different ways.

What do you think?

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