Identity, Power, and Socioracial Hierarchies Among Haitian Immigrants in Florida

  • Louis Herns Marcelin


This chapter provides a preliminary exploration of the ideologies of race and color among Haitians in Miami-Dade County.1 It examines the ways in which these ideologies are configured and reappropriated within the new transnational contexts created between Haiti and South Florida. Particular focus is placed on the cultural variation of racial and derivative color-line stereotypes that underlie inter- and intra group relationships and that impact both the sociocultural marginalization and subordination of working-class Haitians in Miami-Dade County and the reconfiguration of social boundaries and political processes within Haitian communities.2 The argument starts with a discussion of the contingency of race and racial configuration in Miami-Dade. As we will see, the case of Miami-Dade well illustrates that racial practices and politics have no automatic effects and “can therefore be made to serve different ends” (Gilroy 2003). It is therefore important in the study of socioracial practices among immigrants in Miami-Dade to take into account their previous national experiences and histories as well as the local racial grammar in defining this context. Next, the text provides a brief overview of the historical and sociocultural baggage that Haitians brought along with them to the United States. Then, it describes how Haitians became a “racialized” group in Miami-Dade County and how, as a minority group, they process the constant tension between rejection and internalization of racial objectification. What role does this tension play in the subjectivity formation of this minority group? How does the experience of denigration mediate the interaction between history and everyday life, ontology and politics?


Black Population Coral Gable Public Imagination Latin American Immigrant African American Neighborhood 
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© Anani Dzidzienyo and Suzanne Oboler 2005

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  • Louis Herns Marcelin

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