Who is the Real Haitian?

Is there such a thing as a real Haitian? Is it an ethnic confluence? A little Spanish blood here, a little French blood there? Is the real Haitian an émigré from the Congo? What about the lightness or darkness of skin tone? Is darker more Haitian than light? Or vice versa?


Does a real Haitian speak Créole or French? Are they Catholic, Protestant, or Voodoo believers? What kind of music do they listen to? To the big band sound of the 40s and 50s? Compás, Zouk, Racine? Or music that can only be described as country or folk? Is Manno Emmanuel Charlemagne or Emeline Michel the real Haitians, rather than T-Vice or Shleu-Shleu?

Is a real Haitian someone who has never left Haiti? Do they live in the Diaspora and send remittances back home to family? Are they a Haitian Congresswoman like Frederica Wilson, a Friend of Haiti Award recipient, who has protected and served her country people for three decades? What about Hip-Hop artist Wyclef Jean, who ran for the Haitian presidency in 2010?

When you walk the streets of Port-au-Prince, are there real Haitians found there? Do they live in tent cities, survivors of the 2010 earthquake? People who live on subsistence diets, are uneducated, whose children roamed the streets of the capital afterwards, stunned, shattered, and displaced?

I can tell you who the real Haitians are. They are the schoolchildren, who beam brightly at the camera, with smiles that can light up a room. They carry the spirit of resiliency, of life, of mother earth, of Haiti.

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